An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. – Benjamin Franklin
Falls are a significant threat to safety, health and independence.
- More than a third of adults aged 65 years or older fall each year. Two-thirds of seniors who fall will fall again within 6 months [CDC].
- Of those who fall, 20% to 30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard for them to get around or live independently, and increase their risk of early death [Sterling DA, 2001]
- About 20 percent of older adult falls cause serious injuries that can limit mobility, diminish quality of life, and increase the risk of premature death.[CDC, 2014]
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.[CDC]
- After age 74, falls take over as the #1 cause of death, with motor-vehicle crashes dropping to #2 [National Safety Council, Injury Facts 2008 Edition].
- About one third of older people who live at home fall at least once a year, and people who live in a nursing home fall even more often [Merck Manual, Alexander 2009].
- Short-term risk of single and recurring falls may triple within two days after a medication change [CDC, 2007].
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.[CDC].
- Research indicates 55% of all falls take place inside the home [Kochera, 2002].
- Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes [Alexander BH, 1992].
- In 2009, emergency departments treated 2.4 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults; more than 662,000 of these patients had to be hospitalized [CDC, 2010].
- About half of all seniors hospitalized for hip fracture cannot return home or live independently after the fall [CDC].
- One in three adults who lived independently before their hip fracture remains in a nursing home for at least a year after their injury [Leibson CL, 2002].
- According to “The State of Home Safety in America research report”, each year nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits are due to preventable injuries in the home.
- According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 30% to 50% of home accidents can be prevented with home modification and repairs. Most falls occur when people with a physical condition that impairs mobility or balance encounter an environmental hazard.
- Research has demonstrated that improving home safety — either by assessments and modifications by occupational therapists for people who have fallen, or through home modifications as part of a comprehensive fall prevention program — reduces the chances of future falls [Rand Report, 2003].
- One in five people who sustain a hip fracture die within a year following their injury.[CDC, 2014]
- Because seniors spend most of their time at home, one-half to two-thirds of all falls occur in or around the home. Most fall injuries are caused by falls on the same level (not from falling down stairs) and from a standing height (for example, by tripping while walking). Therefore, it makes sense to reduce home hazards and make living areas safer [Ellis, 2001].
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths. [CDC].
- Between half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year [Rubenstein LZ, 1997]; that’s twice the rate of falls for older adults living in the community [CDC 2012].
Cost of a Fall-Related Injury
- Adjusted for inflation, the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion annually. Hospital costs account for two-thirds of the total. [Stevens JA, Corso PS, Finkelstein EA, Miller, 2006]
- In spite of health insurance coverage, patients themselves will typically pay out-of-pocket expenses up to several thousand dollars per admission.
- Direct costs do not account for the long-term consequences of these injuries, such as disability, decreased productivity, dependence on others, lost time from work and household duties of the individual or their care giver, or reduced quality of life [CDC Cost of Falls, 2013].
- Annually, falls among older adults are responsible for over 20,000 deaths, 2.3 million emergency department visits, and more than $30 billion in direct medical costs.[CDC, 2014]
- In 2014, the total cost of fall injuries was $31 billion. [CDC, 2014]
The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.[CDC].
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