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Preventing Falls In The Elderly

Elderly and FallsOne of the largest concerns for the elderly is preventing falls. They are the largest cause of injury death for people 65 years and older, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  In 2008, 19,700 older adults died from fall injuries and in 2009, 2.2 million fall injuries were treated at emergency rooms across the country.

Causes Of Falls

Falls occur more often with the elderly for various reasons, most of them linked to

deteriorating health issues including:

  • Certain health conditions
  • Loss of mobility and balance
  • Vision issues
  • Drug side effects
  • Circulation problems, including numbness in their feet

Not are elderly more likely to fall, they are at risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI) when they do. Falls accounted for an estimated 50% of TBI deaths in the 65 and older patients that were in a CDC study in 2005. The study also pointed out that those 65 and older have over a 30% chance of falling, 1 out of 3.

Preventing Falls At Nursing Homes

Falls are common for nursing home patients. Even though the risk is greater, many falls at nursing homes are found to be due to negligence on the part of the facility as they responsible for protecting patients from falls and other injuries. There are measures that can be taken to reduce falls.

  • Get regular exercise. Keep strength and mobility is important in the elderly. Nursing homes should make sure their patients are keeping as active as possible.
  • Medication awareness. Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness. Patients on these medications may need extra help to prevent them from falling.
  • Vision issues. Vision needs to be monitored and checked once a year to make sure they have adequate eye wear to see properly.
  • Reduce hazards. Keeping areas well lit and accessable is important to avoiding tripping and falling over unseen items.

Allowing a patient to walk in areas that are dim or cluttered, or without supervision when they have a high risk for falling, can be a sign of poor care on the part of the nursing home.

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