Falls in the elderly
At least a third of persons aged 65 years or more fall each year, with 10% leading to injury.
The presence of various medical conditions and the results of functional tests can assess the risk of falling. Examples of such tests are Gait velocity and the Timed-Up-and-Go tests. A Timed-Up-and-Go test of < 15 seconds suggests a low risk of falling. In the Timed-Up-and-Go test "patients to stand up from a chair, walk a short distance, turn around, return, and sit down again."
A Timed-Up-and-Go test (stand=up; walk 10 feet; turn around; walk 10 feet; return to sitting) generally required 10 seconds.
Chronic muscle pain may be associated with an increased risk of falls.
Wearing multifocal eyeglasses may increase falls.
Cataract surgery is associated with an increase in falls.
"In community-dwelling older people at increased risk of falling, a 6-month music-based multitask exercise program improved gait under dual-task condition, improved balance, and reduced both the rate of falls and the risk of falling".
- Individually targeted exercise or physical therapy consisting of strength training, balance, and walking.
- Home safety interventions.
- "Vitamin D supplements of at least 800 IU per day should be provided to older persons with proven vitamin D deficiency."
- "Vitamin D supplements of at least 800 IU per day should be considered for people with suspected vitamin D deficiency or who are otherwise at increased risk for falls."
A meta-analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration found benefit among cummunity-dwelling persons from multidisciplinary, multifactorial, health, or environmental risk-factor screening or intervention programs. A more recent randomized controlled trial confirms this although not all trials have shown benefit.
Falls in hospitals
In hospitals, patients of any age may be confused. There are several approaches being used to detect when a patient, not cleared to be out of bed alone, may do so. Bed rails can be connected to a switch that sends a signal to the nursing station whenever they are lowered. Increasing numbers of new hospital beds are equipped with weight scales, originally for convenience in routine weighing, but now being used to detect when the patient's weight is removed from the mattress.
- Anonymous (2021), Accidental falls (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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- Prevention of Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults
- American Geriatric Society Prevention of Falls
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