Long-Term Care

Falls in elderly persons

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, September 9, 2010

Falls have been studied extensively in elderly persons, and statistics are often grim. The cliché, “Old age starts with the first fall and death comes with the second,” is an exaggeration, but sadly, it has a ring of truth to it. Each year, approximately 350,000 persons are hospitalized for hip fracture in the United States. Ninety percent of these fractures are the result of falls. Hip fracture is a devastating injury for persons of all ages, particularly those who are elderly. Only one in four recovers completely, 40% will require nursing facility care, 50% will need a cane or walker, and 24% of those over age 50 will die within 12 months. In other studies, statistics were even grimmer if operative repair of the hip was delayed. One study showed a six-month mortality of 69% if surgery is delayed 32 hours. At six months, the odds ratio of death was 13 times greater with an operative delay of 36 hours compared with eight hours.

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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