Geriatric Fall Patterns

Falls cause the most injuries and visits to the emergency room with trauma than any other type of injury. It is the leading cause of accidental death in patients over the age of sixty five years. Mortality increases with age. Falls account for 70 percent of all accidental deaths in those patients 75 years or older. Falls are usually associated with a great deal of morbidity in the elderly. Ninety percent of hip fractures occur secondary to falls; most patients are over 70 years.

Experts believe that elderly people who fall need a thorough evaluation. There can be hidden fractures and underlying organic disease such as dementia that are the ultimate cause of the disease.

About 147 million injuries were seen in the ER from 1992-1995 in the US. Falls were the most common injury noted, which accounted for 24 percent of injuries. This was especially true in children and adults greater than 65 years of age. Elderly fall patients were 10 times more likely to end up hospitalized than children and 8 times more likely to die from their fall. Trauma is the fifth leading cause of death among people greater than 65 years of age. The elderly account for 75 percent of deaths due to falls. About 1,800 falls cause death in the US each year. And about 9,500 deaths in the elderly are associated with falls within a year of the fall each ear.

Those elderly people who actually survive their fall have a great deal of morbidity. Hospital stays are twice as long as hospital stays in the elderly with different reasons. There is a greater functional decline after a fall when compared to having other illnesses. They are at a much greater risk of being in a nursing home indefinitely.

Falls can be markers of poor health and declining cognitive and physical functioning. A fall can indicate that the person has pneumonia, a bladder infection or a heart attack. It could mean the person has Alzheimer’s dementia. The fall itself can cause fractures of the wrist, head trauma, soft tissue injuries and hip fractures. In fact 5-15 percent of falls cause fractures of some kind. One to two percent result in hip fractures.

One fourth of the elderly who sustain a hip fracture are dead within 6 months of their fall. A total of 50 percent of people who survive their hip fracture end up in a nursing home. Half of those patients are still in the nursing home after one year. If they survive their hip fracture, the elderly are 10-15 times more likely to die early than their counterparts who didn’t have a fall.

In one study, the researchers decided to look at the mechanism of injury and the injury types seen in geriatric falls in order to identify risk factors associated with death from the falls. The trauma centers that were level one were asked to give information of all trauma patients over the age of 65 years of age who had an injury score of greater than 15 from 2004-2006. About 276 patients were looked at. The average age was 81.5 years. Over half had high blood pressure and falls caused their injuries 72 percent of the time. Those geriatric patients suffered from head trauma, C spine injury, received blood transfusions, needed intubation or had chest trauma were more likely to die from their trauma. They decided that more research was recommended to further flush out risk factors to falling.

Updated:

Client Reviews

  • Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!
    Sincerely,
    ★★★★★
  • Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation.
    ★★★★★
  • Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything.
    ★★★★★
  • Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime.
    ★★★★★
  • I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone.
    ★★★★★
  • Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury.
    ★★★★★