Most older patients with fall-related injuries skip fall prevention activities post-discharge, study finds

Adults 65 years and older are not likely to participate in fall prevention programs after being admitted to the emergency department with a fall-related injury, according to a study published in the journal Injury Epidemiology.

For the study, researchers enrolled 87 patients admitted to the ED with fall-related injuries between the ages of 65 to 90 years who were given a flyer about a local fall prevention program before leaving the hospital. Researchers then followed up with the patients 60 days after the initial ED visit.  

While 71 percent of participants reported speaking with their provider regarding the fall, just 37 percent reported engaging in fall prevention activities after discharge. No patients participated in the fall prevention program. Twelve patients reported a recurrent fall, seven of which returned to the ED after the recurrent fall.

"The amount of dialogue patients reported having about their falls is encouraging, but their fall should trigger a more significant health system response to lessen their risk of future falls," Kalpana Narayan Shankar, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Boston Medical Center and one of the study's authors, said in a press release emailed to Becker's Hospital Review.

More than 2 million older adults were admitted to the ED because of falls in 2015, resulting in more than 734,000 hospitalizations, according to the release.

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