A decline in falls
When taught how to prevent falls, clinicians and their older patients can significantly reduce the likelihood of one occurring. In an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine in July, Yale researchers reported an 11 percent reduction in the rate of older adults visiting an emergency department or being hospitalized because of a fall.
The researchers compared injury rates in a 58-zip code area in and around Hartford—in which clinicians were encouraged to incorporate evidence-based fall risk assessment and management into their practices—to a control region elsewhere in Connecticut. Their analysis also showed 10 percent fewer fall-related hip fractures and head injuries, some 1,800 fewer emergency department visits or hospitalizations and overall health care savings in the study region estimated at $21 million over the two-year study period.
“The research is done,” said senior author Mary E. Tinetti, M.D., the Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health. “The next step is to put it into practice, by making physicians, nurses and physical therapists everywhere more conscious of fall risks among their patients and of what can be done to prevent falls.”