Fall Prevention

Fall Prevention includes any action taken to help reduce the number of accidental falls suffered by susceptible individuals, such as the elderly, injured patients, and those suffering from balance disorders (ataxias).

Falls and fall-related injuries are among the most common but serious medical problems experienced by older adults. Nearly one-third of older persons fall each year, half of which fall more than once per year. Over 3 million Americans over the age of 65 visited hospital emergency departments in 2015 due to fall-related injuries, with over 1.6 million being admitted. Because of underlying osteoporosis and decreased mobility and reflexes, falls often result in hip fractures and other fractures, head injuries, and even death in older adults. Accidental injuries are the fifth most common cause of death in older adults. In around 75% of hip fracture patients, recovery is incomplete and overall health deteriorates.

The strongest predictors of fall risk include a history of falls during the past year and gait and balance abnormalities. Some studies (but not others) have indicated that impaired vision, certain medications (especially psychotropic drugs), decreased activities of daily living and impaired cognition are associated with a higher risk of falls. Furthermore, some interventions which have been shown to be effective in one country have not yet been studied in other populations. The contribution of orthostatic hypotension to fall risk remains uncertain.F

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