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Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ?65 Years: United States, 2014

Release Date: September 26, 2016

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults aged ?65 years (older adults). During 2014, approximately 27,000 older adults died because of falls; 2.8 million were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries, and approximately 800,000 of these patients were subsequently hospitalized. To estimate the numbers, percentages, and rates of falls and fall injuries among older adults by selected characteristics and state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey.

In 2014, 28.7 percent of older adults reported falling at least once in the preceding 12 months, resulting in an estimated 29.0 million falls. Of those who fell:

Older adult falls are largely preventable and healthcare providers (e.g., physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists) can play an important part by discussing falls with older adult patients and providing appropriate interventions. The American and British Geriatrics Societies (AGS/BGS) Clinical Practice Guideline recommends that healthcare providers use a multifactorial approach to prevent falls that includes activities such as asking about falls, assessing gait and balance, reviewing medications, and prescribing interventions, such as strength and balance exercises, or taking vitamin D. This type of approach has been estimated to be capable of reducing falls by 24 percent. Based on the AGS/BGS guidelines, CDC has developed the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) initiative to provide resources to help healthcare providers incorporate fall prevention into primary care.

STEADI stresses three initial steps that can be completed in one patient visit: 1) ask patients if they have fallen in the past year, feel unsteady, or worry about falling; 2) review medications and stop, switch, or reduce the dosage of drugs that increase fall risk; and 3) recommend daily vitamin D supplementation for improved bone, muscle, and nerve health (with dosage of vitamin D and decision on whether to co-supplement with calcium to be determined based on the patient’s history). The authors recommend that healthcare providers discuss fall prevention with their patients.

The complete report, Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ?65 Years — United States, 2014, is published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6537a2.htm?s_cid=mm6537a2_e.

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The information contained in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. ISO Services, Inc., its companies and employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with either the information herein contained or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedure.


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