CDC: Falls Leading Cause of Injury, Death in Seniors
In conjunction with National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing that falls are the leading cause of injury and death among older Americans who are 65 and older.
Fall injuries are especially dangerous in nursing homes and can often be a sign of neglect. If your loved one has been injured or died from a fall in a nursing home, you may have legal options. Contact our skilled nursing home abuse lawyers to learn more.
The data shows that elderly Americans fell 29 million times in 2014 alone, causing seven million injuries and costing about $31 billion in Medicare costs.
The report also noted that more than 100,000 Americans turn 65 every day. That means that the number of fall-related injuries and deaths is likely to surge in coming years unless preventative measures are taken.
In an effort to increase communication between doctors and elderly patients about fall risks, the CDC created the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) initiative. It encourages healthcare providers to set up fall prevention routines by providing clinical guidelines, information and resources for the entire healthcare team, patients and caregivers.
In an effort to help prevent falls, healthcare providers should:
- Ask if a patient has fallen in the last year, feels unsteady or is concerned about falling
- Review a patient’s medication to stop, reduce or switch those that could lead to falls
- Prescribe vitamin D supplements
The CDC recommends that elderly adults and caregivers also take important steps to help prevent falls, including:
- Starting a conversation with your healthcare provider about fall prevention, including looking at the medications you are taking
- Having routine eye check-ups
- Participate in programs and activities like Tai Chi that can improve your balance
- Improve safety in your home by removing fall hazards
In Wisconsin, the elderly death rate from falls is so severe many are considering it an epidemic. The state’s death rate is the second highest in the nation and more than double the national average.