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Intervention Reduces Chances of Falling Among Older Adults

Education and guidance are key to preventing fall-related hospitalization for those at risk

Woman falling down at home

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A “fall plan of care” can help spare older adults from fall-related hospitalizations, researchers report.

A team at the State University of New York at Binghamton reported that older adults who were enrolled in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative experienced better outcomes. The initiative aims for fall prevention by raising awareness and discussing strategies with potential victims.

The research, published in the September issue of the Gerontologist, showed that those deemed at risk for falls who had a “fall plan of care” were 40 percent less likely to experience a fall-related hospitalization than those who were at risk but did not have such a plan.

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Although fall prevention guidelines have long been available to health care providers, they often fail to provide them to patients, researchers wrote. The CDC initiative relies significantly on intervention, with activities like strength and balance programs, medication management, occupational therapy and corrective eyewear.

The study noted the financial and human cost of falls.

Previous research has established that the average cost of a fall-related hospitalization is $30,000. In addition, after hospitalization there is an “increased burden on informal caregivers,” the study noted.

For every year an older adult ages, the chance of a major fall increases by 10 percent, the data showed.