Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Falling Injuries and the Elderly

by Jeff Kopito, EMT-D

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), about 60 percent of injuries from falls occur right in the patient's own home and are usually related to the everyday activities we take for granted, such as going to the bathroom.

The most common fall-related injuries are fractures of the spine, forearm, and hip. Hip fractures alone are occurring at a rate of almost 300,000 per year --90 percent of those occurring after a fall. Here in the U.S., we currently spend over $20 billion per year to treat older people after falls.

The consequences to our elder citizens are serious --only about 25 percent of hip fracture patients will make a full recovery; 40 percent will require nursing home admission; 50 percent will be dependent upon a cane or walker; and 20 percent will die within one year. And according to the NCIP, half of all elderly adults hospitalized for hip fracture cannot return home or live independently after the injury.

Abridged for E.A. >>

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