Taking a Tumble: An Empirical Analysis of Falls and Health Care Utilisation Among Older People

30 Apr 2019

Professor Brenda Gannon will give a seminar at the Centre for Health Economics, Monash University, on May 1st, 2019. The topic is falls and health care utilisation. This is joint work with Chris Lubker from University of York, UK, who visited CBEH during winter 2018 as part of his Masters in Health Economics studies.


The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between falls and health care utilisation among older Europeans. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), three utilisation measures are constructed: medical professional contact, general practitioner contact and hospital nights. Statistical panel models utilising correlated random effects are employed to accommodate the individual level unobserved heterogeneity. Results from dynamic and hurdle models indicate that falls are associated with increased health care utilisation; at least 0.6 more general practitioner contacts and up to 1.8 more medical professional contacts and 2.7 more hospital nights. Specifically, associations vary according to acuteness of the health care type and fall recurrence. Models generally confirm theoretical predictions of the human capital approach to health care demand and motivate the importance of fall prevention schemes among older adults.

This research was conducted as part of Chris Lubker’s Master’s degree in Health Economics, which was supervised by Professor Gannon, at CBEH, in winter 2018.