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More than one-third of people over the age of 65 fall each year. Older adults who fall once are two to three times more likely to fall again.
Falls in the post-acute care setting can often result in hospital readmissions. Broken wrists, arms and ankles are common, and hip fractures hospitalize at least 300,000 elderly patients annually. Head injuries can also cause serious problems, especially if these patients are taking certain medications such as blood thinners.
Even if a resident or patient avoids injury, their fear of falling again may cause them to change their daily routine or avoid activities they once enjoyed. Less frequent activity can lead to greater physical weakness, which can increase the chance of falling.
According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a multi-component fall prevention program can reduce the risk for falls by as much as thirty percent.
To reduce readmission rates associated with falls, post-acute care providers should focus on an interdisciplinary team approach to safety that emphasizes education and preventive measures like keeping critical supplies and equipment on hand. By doing so, clinicians can ensure quality care is delivered and improve overall patient outcomes.
Pay careful attention to conditions that can increase the likelihood of a fall, such as:
Many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls, and in turn, reduce the likelihood of fall-related readmissions. Encourage older adults to:
Clinicians are the first line of defense against falls. To reduce readmission rates associated with falls, work together in an interdisciplinary team approach – one that includes both staff with direct care and administrative functions.