Prevent Falls by Older Adults

The HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that fall-related injuries are responsible for about two million visits to hospital emergency departments per year, according to a May 12, 2011 HealthBeat report issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

This HHS HealthBeat report, called Millions of Falls, includes tips for seniors and caregivers to avoid falls, including:

  • Check your medications for food and drug interactions that could lead to falls; and
  • Have your home checked to ensure you have taken all the steps you can to prevent falls, such as making sure rugs are securely fastened to the floors.

New Clinical Fall Prevention Guidelines

This follows the issuance of new Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention of Falls in the Elderly by the American Geriatrics Society & the British Geriatrics Society, which were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in January, 2011.

The new Guidelines “now recommend that all interventions for preventing falls should include an exercise component and that a number of new assessments should be used, including; feet and footwear, fear of falling, and ability to carry out daily living activities,” according to a release issued by the American Geriatrics Society. The new Guidelines also “state that fall screening and prevention should be a part of all healthcare practices for older adults.”

The new Guidelines for the Prevention of Falls in the Elderly, recommend the following interventions to help prevent falls by seniors:

  • Multifactorial interventions which include exercise for balance, gait and strength training, such as Tai Chi or physical therapy;
  • Environmental adaptation to reduce fall risk factors in the home and in daily activities;
  • Cataract surgery where needed, but they recommend against vision intervention as an individual approach;
  • Medication reduction, regardless of the number of medications prescribed (in 2001 this was only recommended for those on at least four) with particular attention to medications that affect the brain such as sleeping medications and antidepressants;
  • Focus on raising low blood pressure and managing heart rate and rhythm abnormalities.

Read the official Summary of the Updated American Geriatrics Society/British Geriatrics Society Clinical Practice Guideline for Prevention of Falls in Older Persons, developed by the Panel on Prevention of Falls in Older Persons of the American Geriatrics Society and British Geriatrics Society, as published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, January 13, 2011 issue.

More Information on Falls and Older Adults

NIH Senior Health, an online publication by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides a good resource entitled Falls and Older Adults, which was recently updated in January, 2011.

It provides quite comprehensive information on falls and older adults, including:

  • Basic information About Falls and older adults
  • Information on Causes and Risk Factors
  • Preventing Falls & Fractures
  • What to do if you fall
  • Frequently Asked Questions; and
  • Videos on Falls and Older Adults, including Videos on:
    • “Be Physically Active”
    • “Doing Strength Exercises”
    • “Have Your Medications Reviewed” and
    • “Home Safety Tips”

For further Comprehensive information on Falls & Fractures, and their causes, prevention, symptoms, treatment, and caregiving:

See, Falls, by MedliePlus, an online health information publication of the U.S. Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health;

And see, HelpingYouCare™ ‘s resource pages on Falls/ Fractures/ Mobility Loss, including pages on their Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis, Prevention, Prevention, Treatment, and Caregiving, as well as latest news.

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Copyright © 2011 Care-Help LLC

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