HEALTHIER AGING: Take steps to protect your patient from falls

April 2006 
Volume 36  Number 4
Pages 24 - 25
  PDF Version Available!



FOR ADULTS over age 65, falls are a leading cause of nonfatal injuries, including fractures (hip, wrist, arm, rib, and spine), lacerations, and head injuries. Falls also account for two-thirds of accidental deaths among older adults. Falls have long-term psychological consequences too, including postfall anxiety, social isolation, and loss of independence.

In this article, I'll discuss what raises the risk, how to screen patients, and what simple but important steps you can take to keep your older patients safe. In a future issue, I'll focus on how to prevent medication-related falls.

Reviewing risk factors

An older person is at risk for falling because of intrinsic factors (such as her advancing age) and extrinsic factors (such as environmental hazards). Your interventions can modify the impact of many of the following.

* Age . Annually 35% to 40% of people over age 65 fall at least once. ...

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