Broken Bones in Elderly Women
A University of Washington-Seattle study published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery found that elderly women who suffer a broken upper arm are five times more likely than normal to break a hip within a year after the arm fracture.
There is evidence to support that both fractures stem from similar reactions to a fall. When patients age, their reflexes slow down, and they may not have the time or ability to correctly position themselves as they fall. Rather than trying to catch themselves as a younger person would do, studies show that elderly people have a tendency to simply tuck and roll, which causes greater force on the shoulder and hip.
-Dr. Jeremiah Clinton, an orthopedic surgeon and associate professor of orthopedics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Falls in the elderly can have serious consequences. We have seen many cases of falls at nursing homes that could’ve been avoided or prevented. We have also seen many residents die as a result of fractures and brain injuries caused by a fall. In fact, the Wisconsin Nursing Homes and Residents annual report shows that 24% of nursing home residents have fallen in the past 30 days, and 26% had fallen in the past 31 days to 180 days.
Falls may trigger pneumonia, depression, infection, and/or muscle loss. Falls are likely to lead to fractures and immobility, putting the resident at risk for pressure sores. A fall can also trigger a psychological response that prevents people from becoming mobile and active again. Immobility can prevent a resident from taking deep breaths, making him or her more prone to pneumonia as well as skin breakdown, pressure sores, bladder infection and lung infection.
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