Falls are Leading Cause of Injury Deaths for 65+ Population

September 23, 2011    |   By: Calevir

Friday, September 23rd is the nationwide Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The Missouri Center for Patient Safety encourages everyone to consider the falling risks our loved ones may face, participate in local Falls Awareness Day activities, and take action.   The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website offers a listing of Falls Day activities throughout Missouri, as well as numerous resources to identify and reduce the risk of falling for elderly loved ones.

Jefferson City, MO — The Missouri Center for Patient Safety announced its participation in Falls Prevention Awareness Day, a national campaign to bring important information on fall prevention to older adults and their family members.   More than 70 events are planned across Missouri that include fall risk assessments, medication consultations, and other health screenings.   MOCPS is a member of the Show Me Falls Free Missouri Coalition, a group of more than 50 organizations sponsoring the activities to reduce falls and fall injuries.  

A 2006 Centers for Disease Control, CDC, report shows that in Missouri, the fall death rate for older adults was more than thirty percent higher than the national death rate in 2005. Falls were the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among Missouri’s older adults, accounting for over sixty percent of all such deaths among Missouri’s older adults in 2006.

More recent CDC statistics show a significant rise in fall related injuries and deaths:

  • In 2008, over 19,700 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.
  • The death rates from falls among older men and women have risen sharply over the past decade.
  • In 2009, 2.2 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 581,000 of these patients were hospitalized.
  • In 2000, direct medical costs of falls totaled a little over $19 billion-$179 million for fatal falls and $19 billion for nonfatal fall injuries.  This equals $28.2 billion in 2010 dollars.

“As with most things, awareness is the first step,” said MOCPS director, Becky Miller.   “For the sake of our older loved ones, it is important to take time to consider how falls can be prevented in their lives.”

As part of the Falls Prevention Awareness Day, MOCPS is devoting time and resources to promoting helpful online resources designed to teach the public how to help older loved ones avoid falling, tripping and stumbling.

“As the director for the Missouri Center for Patient Safety, MOCPS, the issue of seniors falling and injuring themselves relates directly to our mission to improve patient safety and the quality of health care delivery.  But this is personal for me too.   My mother has had two serious falls, one of which nearly ended her life,” said Miller.

Miller says it is important for healthcare providers, individuals and family members to continue to work toward fall injury prevention to make a measurable difference.

Fall Prevention Information

Calendar of Events

“We can help our older family members and friends by assessing their risk for a fall and taking action to change their environment and reduce the risks.   It is also very important to be certain health care providers are aware when our loved ones are at risk of falling or if they have fallen before so that appropriate precautions are put in place, especially if they are in the hospital.”

The Missouri Center for Patient Safety website, www.mocps.org, provides additional information and links to fall risk assessment materials, schedules for local educational presentations and other important information to reduce fall risks, and improve the safety of health care.



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