Fall Risk Screening and Prevention
Part 1: Why are healthcare professionals “tripping” over falls? What’s the big deal?
Falls among the elderly and those with disabilities are a huge concern in the healthcare community. When we were younger, the biggest concern after a fall was often a skinned knee, but as we age, falls become a much bigger deal. Consider these alarming realities taken directly from a fact sheet created by STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
- 1 in 4 people 65 years or older falls each year
- Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall
- 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as head trauma or fracture
- Less than half of Medicare beneficiaries who fell in the previous year talked to their healthcare provider about it
- More than 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for non-fatal fall injuries each year
- Medicare costs for fall injuries total over $31 billion dollars Hospital costs account for two-thirds of the total (and that is just Medicare—this does not include other insurers!)
We can all agree that falls are a big deal. Not only is there a huge monetary cost involved in treating patients after falls; there is a huge cost to the individual and their family as well in the form of lost confidence, lost mobility, potential brain trauma, and even loss of life in some cases! This is a big deal! So how do we identify individuals who are at risk for falls? And what do we do about this?
Stay tuned for our next blog entry, penned by Dr. Erin Aragon, PT, DPT to find out how to assess whether you or a loved one are at risk for falls. Also, be sure to attend Paradigm’s Fall-Risk Screening Clinic on Saturday, February 24, 2017 from 10 AM to 2 PM at our Los Lunas location to assess your fall risk and find out how to decrease your risk!