Anyone is at risk for a fall, however, falls are especially concerning in the older adult population.
Falling is the leading cause of death due to injury for persons 65 years of age or older (CDC, 2012). This problem is so prevalent, that one third of all adults in this age group will fall each year in the United States. In addition to being a leading cause of death for this age group, emergency departments treated 2.3 million and admitted 663,000 older adults in 2010 due to fall-related injuries. The direct medical costs for fall-related injuries during the same reporting period were estimated to be $30 billion.
A fall is a lethal event that results from an amalgamation of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors which predispose an elderly person to the incident (Naqvi et al 2009). The frequency of hospital admission due to falls for older people in Australia, Canada, UK and Northern Ireland range from 1.6 to 3.0 per 10 000 population (WHO 2012). The prevalence of senior citizen’s falls in acute care settings varies widely and the danger of falling rises with escalating age or frailty. Falls of hospitalized older adults are one of the major patient safety issues in terms of morbidity, mortality, and decreased socialization
The paper will discuss falls prevention in the older adult over the age of 55 and new and alternative interventions for fall prevention compared to current practice. The desired outcome of the paper is to provide information for fall prevention and, therefore, decrease the occurrence of falls. First, in order to understand the importance falls have within the clinical setting, statistics showing the mortality, morbidity and financial impact should be understood. The occurrence of falls within the acute care setting is a growing problem among the elderly. The evidence shows that one in three people aged 65 or older will sustain a fall and that only half will report the fall to a caregiver (CDC, 2014). The number increases to one in two when the patient reaches the age of 80. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines a fall when a person unintentionally comes to rest on the ground or another lower level. Falls are not an inevitable part of aging, however, aging does influence such things as reduced mobility, comorbidities, and cognitive impairment which contribute to fall risk. Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in the acute care setting. The injuries sustained from falls leads to increased hospital stay time and a chance for further injuries which may harm the patient (CDC, 2014). According to the CDC in 2013, 2.5 million people suffered a fall, of these falls 734,000 were hospitalized. The falls also resulted in 22,900 people dying from fall
The widespread falls among the geriatric population reduce their quality of life and take away their functional independence. Lee et al (2013) state that falls leads to the rise in mortality rates and morbidity complications such as fractures and disabilities,1 out of 3 elderly persons in a community setting falls in a year. About 87% of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls. Several of the risk factors that are associated with falls are visual impairments, cognitive impairments, and health-related problems: arthritis, orthostatic, back pains, lack of balance-weakening muscles, previous falls, polypharmacy or psychoactive drugs (Lee et al, 2013).
Falls among any individual can cause significant trauma, often leading to an increase in mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012), one in every three adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Long-term care facilities account for many of these falls, with an average of 1.5 falls occurring per nursing home bed annually (Vu, Weintraub, & Rubenstein, 2004). In 2001, the American Geriatric Society, British Geriatric Society, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Panel on Falls Prevention published specific guidelines to prevent falls in long-term
The incidence of fall-related injuries in the elderly U.S. population will continue to increase (Quigley, Neily, Watson, Wright, & Strobel, 2017).
“In the United Sates, unintentional falls are the most common cause of nonfatal injuries for people older than 65 years (Hughes, 2008).” This illustrates a problem that requires addressing. “Rates of falls vary across hospitals and units however, the highest rates are found in neuroscience (6.12-8.83/1000 patient days) and medical (3.48-6.12 falls/1000 patient days) units” (Mion, 2014). Older adults are usually those most affected and their falls are
In a classic definition, falls are untoward events which result in the person coming to rest unintentionally on the ground or another lower surface (Bok, et al., 2015). Falls, can be a devastating source of morbidity and mortality for the older adult. According to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) Report, “Falls Among the Older Adult,” more than one third of adults aged 65 and older fall each year in the United States and falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. Falls are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma in the older adult population (CDC Report). Unfortunately, the rate of fall-related deaths
In USA, one in three adults over age 65 suffer fall while 20% to 30% experience moderate to severe injuries (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). In 2010, the cost of falls among elderly people for US health care system was over $30 billion (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Over the last few decades the rate of fall related deaths in USA has sharply been escalating. Many older adults have developed the fear of falling, limiting their social activity and forcing them to live in fear. Some adults suffer lacerations, fracture and trauma during fall, deteriorating their quality of life.
Therefore, one could understand the importance of fall prevention among the elderly population in both the institutional and home settings. The following will discuss best practices to assist in the prevention of falls and geriatric syndromes.
Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits and unintentional death in Americans 65+ years old. (Centers For Disease Control & Prevention)
Falls in an acute care setting lead the list of injury related deaths and deaths in the elderly. “A fall is defined as any event which patients are found on the floor (observed or unobserved) or an unplanned lowering of the patient to the floor by staff or visitors” (Kalisch, Tschannen, and Lee, 2012, p. 6). Medicare and Medicaid changes in 2008 list falls as one of the 10 hospital acquired conditions for which hospitals will no longer be reimbursed because falls are considered preventable conditions. Joint Commission accredited hospitals are required to assess for falls risk and implement falls prevention measures.
Falls are considered a leading cause of mortality and injury among older adults and majority of the falls occurs while hospitalized. One would think being in the hospital would be one of the safest places for older adults as far as fall prevention is concern due to the fact that hospitals provide staffing around the clock for patients but more and more falls have been occurring in the hospital especially in the older adult population. Fall is an unintended descent to the ground. It raises public and family care liability; it also decreases patient’s functioning because it causes pain and suffering, and increases medical costs (Saverino et al, 2015). The Center for Disease Control
Falls are more common among people with advanced age, especially females aged above 85 years. People from the most disadvantaged social groups are also more likely to experience inpatient falls.