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Concern over high number of older people admitted after falls


Around 350,000 older people are admitted to hospital every year as a result of a fall, a charity has warned.

Age UK said the number of people over the age of 60 who are treated in hospital in England because of falling over is a “real concern”.

About 9,000 older people die every year as the result of a fall and injuries from falls are one of the leading causes of death for over-75s, the charity said.

Launching it’s Falls Awareness Week, Age UK said the impact of a fall can be life-changing for an older person and can leave them feeling isolated and reluctant to leave home.

“With the older population projected to rise by nearly 50% in the next 20 years, the number of people over 60 experiencing falls to the extent where they are receiving hospital treatment is a real concern,” said charity director general Michelle Mitchell.

“Falls in later life are often dismissed as an inevitable part of growing older, however the reality is that there is something we can all do prevent a fall and increase our chances of living a healthy and independent life for as long as possible.

“Prevention is better than cure and more should be done to support and promote this.”

On Friday, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed that between 2012 and 2013 more than 410,000 people of all ages were admitted to hospitals across England as a result of a fall - a 13.4% decline from 470,000 the previous year.

Almost three-quarters of females admitted were over the age of 65, compared with around half of men, the HSCIC said.

Last week health bosses were urged to take action to prevent elderly people falling over in hospital after it emerged that 90 patients died in one year because of such accidents.

Doctors and nurses must create a plan to reduce at-risk patients’ likelihood of falling while being cared for in an NHS organisation, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • tinkerbell

    although the risk cannot be eliminated it can be reduced by

    Physical assessment
    Proper assessmentof mobility & spatial awareness.
    regular medication reviews
    properly assessed walking aids
    effective pain relief
    removal of hazards
    Assessment of 'hotspots' on the ward where falls are occuring more frequently
    a bit of foresight and common sense

    I have recently been struggling with arthritis and my rotation and flexibility shot away to the extent that a sharp breeze could have toppled me over and feeling that i needed magnetised boots on a magnetic floor to get safely from A to B.

    Thankfully it is now easing up but not quite flexible enough to do a backwards flip.

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  • does that include sportsmen and women over 60 such as mountaineers and skiers?

    it seems life is finished in the UK once you pass 60!

    As for concern it is only for the money and not for the patient. now that rationing is becoming a reality they can be refused treatment and care.

    Incidentally, at what age does ‘elderly’ officially begin?

    60, 65 – younger? older?

    At what age is this rationing of healthcare for the elderly set to begin?

    What of those who have to work past the official retirement age, or when this age is raised to 68 are these individuals also considered as ‘elderly’?

    If they are still needed in the workplace how will their care be rationed if they become sick or have an accident? Will nurses have special dispensation or will they simply be case aside?

    Who should make the decisions about need for the patient?

    If they are not treated by specialists in the care of the elderly, decisions by individual doctors may be subjective and biased, especially by those who don’t like elderly patients and do not consider their best interests, which is not uncommon and some nurses and doctors even openly show their distaste.

    Instead of using chronological age as a guide or an arbitrary label such as ‘elderly’ would it not be more reasonable to base all investigations, treatment and care on individual clinical need of the patient?

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  • tinkerbell

    is a bungee jump considered a safe fall?

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  • Age UK say prevention is better than cure so what do they plan to do to prevent 350,000 people falling over?

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  • tinkerbell | 17-Jun-2013 6:52 pm

    not without risk for whatever age group you are, just like paragliding and hot air ballooning. some receive gifts of these for their 80th and 90th birthday presents.

    " 91-year-old woman dives off platform for seventh time as bungee ..."

    "Oct 11, 2011 – For Frances Gabe of Fresno California, celebrating her birthday bungee jumping at her local fair is a nine-year tradition motivated by her defeat ..."

    "Extremely Elderly People Being Extreme and Radical (Gallery)

    article written by: Andy Green"

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  • I work for a charity that has a falls prevention project which is being axed due to cut backs. My colleague worked very closely with falls prevention professionals within local NHS trust and followed falls prevention pathway when assessing clients for risk of falls. This has been shown to reduce the numbers of elderly clients admitted to hospital with injuries as a result of falls, but still the service is being cut.

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