Thermal Injury Deaths of Community-dwelling Older People with Dementia

Ross Bicknell, Briohny Kennedy, Tony Pham, Lyndal Bugeja, Joseph E. Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Although people with dementia are prone to the risk of fire and burn injuries, the relationship between fatal thermal injuries and dementia has not been investigated. We examined coronial files in the state of Victoria, Australia between July 1, 2000 and December 31, 2014, for unintentional thermal injury causing deaths of community dwelling people, aged 65 years and older to identify those with dementia. Mortality for Victorian populations with and without dementia was calculated using direct age standardization. In total, 105 deaths were identified of which 18 (17%) had dementia. Mortality was more than 3-fold greater for people with dementia (3.0 vs. 0.8 per 100,000 person-years) and they more often lived with others when the injury occurred (56%, n=10 vs. 29% n=25, P=0.028). Our results suggest that older people with dementia are at greater risk of death through thermal injury. Further research should consider investigating a larger population through combining databases across multiple jurisdictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-104
Number of pages4
JournalAlzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • burn
  • death and dying
  • dementia
  • fire
  • thermal injury

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