Fall Prevention Awareness Week: September 19-25

September 23rd, 2010 No Comments

 

The coming of the fall season brings the annual Fall Prevention Awareness Week. Falls are especially dangerous for older adults.

– – –How widespread is the problem?

  • Did you know that more than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States?
  • Among older people, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths. Falls also are the major cause of injuries that aren’t fatal and are the leading cause of hospital admissions for trauma.
  • In 2010, over 2 million older adults were treated in emergency departments due to falls; more than 662,000 were retained in the hospital due to falls
  • The rates of fall-related deaths among older adults increased over the past decade.
  • 20% – 30% of people who fall have moderate to severe injuries–bruises, hip fractures, lacerations, or head traumas.
  • Another factor to consider: medications. Many older adults take multiple medications to treat their health conditions. Taking four or more medications can greatly increase the risk for falling. This is because there are a greater number of side effects associated with multiple medication use and the side effects can be intense. Interactions between medications can also cause side effects.

Video from Texas Health Resources

Half of the trauma admissions at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hosptial Fort Worth involve falls. “And we did a little bit of research saying what makes people fall. Things that make them fall are the amount of medications that they have, if they have cords on the floor, if their rooms are crowded, if they can’t see properly,” said Mary Ann Contreras, RN. They developed a screening test used to determine if a patient was at risk of losing their balance. The test evaluates strength, flexibility, sensation, and visual vestibular interaction. Afterward, they are educated on home safety issues, and exercise.


Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html; 
http://www.fallpreventiontaskforce.org/falls_medication.htm


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