Falls are still a leading cause of death and hospitalization among elderly Americans, according to a new article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now classify institutional falls as “serious reportable events,” as systematic reviews estimate only 20 percent of falls can be prevented within hospitals.
“In the past decade, the prevention of falls, particularly involving older institutionalized patients, has become a focus for practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and accreditors,” write Samir K. Sinha, M.D., and Allan S. Detsky, M.D.
They continue: “Falls represent a leading cause of hospital admissions for trauma and deaths in older adults. Furthermore, 1 in 5 inpatients falls at least once during a hospitalization, and these falls can result in injuries, increased lengths of stay, malpractice lawsuits, and considerable incremental costs.”
Researchers suggest the easiest way to prevent falls is to reduce their chances of occurrence, mainly by limiting unsupervised patient movement and activity within care settings. High fall rates hint at poor care within hospitals for elderly patients.
However, manufacturers have begun to create new devices that severely limit the free movement of seniors in hopes they may avoid accidental falls. These devices replace the once common physical restraints.
Difficult to get out of chairs, enclosed beds, and even sock alarms now circumvent guidelines against the use of traditional restraints, Sharon K. Inouye, M.D., wrote for the New England Journal of Medicine.
Bedridden seniors lose physical functionality, and this loss increases their risk of falling. Environments that don’t encourage a patient’s ability to periodically transfer out of bed and promote walking can contribute to the rapid loss of function, at a rate as high as 5 percent a day.
Instead of providing unsupervised activity or limiting patient movement with technology, the researchers suggest a more balanced approach: focus on early and safe mobilization.
Since the elderly have more free time to partake in exercise classes, it is easier for them to engage in exercise regimens- especially group classes where they may socialize. Early mobilization may help improve seniors’ quality of life.
- ‘Warehouses For The Dying’: Are We Prolonging Life Or Prolonging Death?
- Facing Mortality
- Aging Of Baby Boomers Makes End Of Life Issues Urgent
- 74% Support Giving Terminally Ill Patients Greater End Of Life Control
- Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes
- Advance Care Planning
- Hospice and Palliative Care
- Life Choices
- Politics and Law
- Society and Culture
- Treatments and Illness
- Health Care
- Reuters Health: LMM Reports
- Voices in Bioethics: LMM Commentary
- Securing Hospice Care: An Interview With Dr. Kathleen Unroe
- Chicago Cultural Center Hosts “Death With Dignity” Event
- The Value Of Hospice Care: An Interview With Dr. Ziad Obermeyer
- Medicare Declines To Reimburse Physicians For End Of Life Discussions In 2015
- Hospice Leads To Better Care, Lower Costs At End Of Life: JAMA
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
Subscribe via Email
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Daniel Gaitan serves as a content producer...More