Indoor vs Outdoor Falls

According to a study published in the journal Geriatrics and Gerontology International, the difference in the location of a fall (indoor or outdoor) can provide important information about the person who fell and their lifestyle. The study found that of those who fell outside, most were younger males, whereas those who fell inside tended to be inflicted with chronic diseases. Not only can these falls provide information about the people who fell, it also tells about their injuries and long-term outcome.

Those that fell outdoors weren’t any less likely to suffer severe injuries, but instead, had a greater chance of returning home after the hospital stay. Indoor fallers would still experience severe injuries, but instead of returning home after the hospital stay, they were more likely to be moved to a rehabilitation facility before returning home. The most common injuries among fall location was also analyzed, finding that outdoor falls yielded more head injuries and open wounds, while indoor falls had a high rate of sprains. Adding in risk factors of old age, being female, and having dementia also led to more fractures among falls indoors. Both having a joint disorder and the use of alcohol were found to have negative impacts on the injuries, increasing the number of fractures.

For the full article, click here.

Falling and Motor Vehicle Crashes – Are They Related?

Two of our most preventable injury and death related issues to older adults today are falling and motor vehicle crashes. 1 in 3 older adults fall every year, roughly 12 million people, and 400,000 will get into a crash within that same year. A new study done jointly by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found falling can cause a dominos effect for driving as well. Older adults who have fallen in the past are more likely to have problems while driving. If we continue to prevent falls, we can possibly decrease the number of crashes older adults are involved in.

Read more on the study here: http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2016/04/21/270199.htm

 

 

Similarities and Differences Between Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy

Anyone recovering from illness or injury or dealing with disease and disability can benefit from OT, PT and ST to perform their daily lives more independently and safer, bringing a higher quality of life.

Similarities:

  • All 3 can be available in many different settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, in the home, in schools, and long-term care facilities.
  • All 3 can improve the ability to perform your daily activities and as well as other things you do to improve your quality of life.
  • All 3 can provide you with strengthening, stretching and coordination activities to achieve your goals.

Differences:

  • Occupational Therapy (OT) – OT provides services to improve physical, cognitive, and environmental barriers that affect a person’s ability to participate safely and independently at home with activities of daily living, home management, driving, and community access.
  • Physical Therapy (PT) – PT helps enhance mobility and quality of life by maximizing your ability to get around at home, in the community, and in the activities that you are involved in such as work, sports and hobbies.
  • Speech Therapy (ST) – ST works to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders.

For a more in-depth look into similarities and differences, click here.

**Thank you to Krista Covell, OT; Jennifer Jessup-Rosecrance, PT and Rachel Geoghan, SLP for their insight.

Fall Prevention Awareness Day

Today we celebrate all that has been done to decrease the number of falls seen in our older adult communities. The tools that have been created to help health care providers talk to and assess their patients plus the community classes dedicated to fall prevention are just the beginning!

Still, with all of the progress we have made, there is more we can do! Falls are not a normal part of aging, yet 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 will fall every year. Creating awareness and learning ways to prevent falls and help you or your family members age in place is as easy taking these 6 steps mentioned in the video below and sharing it with everyone you know.

Fall-Related Deaths Nearly Doubled for U.S. Seniors Since 2000

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_152427.html

FROM MEDLINE PLUS:

THURSDAY, May 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The number of American seniors who die from fall-related injuries has nearly doubled since 2000, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.

The observation is based on an analysis of death rate information compiled by the National Vital Statistics System between 2000 and 2013. The report specifically noted that while roughly 30 seniors in every 100,000 died following a fall in 2000, that figure jumped to nearly 57 per 100,000 by 2013.

Investigators also implicated falling as the cause of death in more than half (55 percent) of the roughly 90,000 unintentional injury fatalities involving seniors in 2012 and 2013.

Reacting to the findings, Dr. Lauren Gleason, a geriatrics medicine fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said that it’s important to recognize that deaths resulting from a fall “are not usually just about the fall.”

“Senior falls are a signal event,” she said. “And they’re often part of a larger geriatric syndrome, which means the fall itself may represent other things that have long been going on. So the fall event can certainly lead to a decline in functional ability and even death. But that can also result from medical problems that cause the fall in the first place.”

The findings were published May 6 in the CDC’s NCHS Data Brief.

Gleason (who was not part of the CDC report team) said that there are multiple factors that might contribute to a person’s risk for falling, such as balance issues, poor nutrition, poorly controlled diabetes resulting in foot numbness, or poor coordination. Impaired thinking, she added, could also render familiar environments unfamiliar, raising the risk for tripping.

About one-third of Americans over 65 fall every year, according to the CDC. Emergency departments treat about 2.5 million fall-related injuries (or about one every 13 seconds) every year.

Apart from its focus on falling risk, the CDC report also found that car accidents are now responsible for 6,000 senior deaths per year. That’s 14 percent of all unintentional injury deaths among those 65 and up.

Car accidents are followed by death by suffocation (8 percent), accidental poisoning (4 percent), and death by fire (2 percent). While many unintentional causes of death experienced a bit of an overall decline since 2000, the risk of dying from many of these factors tends to go up as seniors get older.

For example, seniors 85 and up appear eight times more likely to die from suffocation than those between 65 and 74. Octogenarians were also twice as likely to die in a fire as those aged 65 to 74.

Similarly, seniors 85 and up were almost twice as likely to die in a car crash than those aged 65 to 74, the findings showed.

The risk of fall-related death also rose with age, according to the report. While the fall-related death rate among seniors aged 65 to 74 was pegged at 14 per 100,000 people, that figure was found to be 16 times higher among seniors 85 and up (226 per 100,000).

Fall-related death rates also differed by race. The rate among white seniors was 61 per 100,000, compared with 36 per 100,000 among Hispanics and 23 per 100,000 among blacks, the study found.

Deaths resulting from accidental injuries now make up 85 percent of all injury-related deaths among American seniors, according to the CDC researchers. In the report, one in 10 unintentional injury deaths were due to a cause that was deemed “unspecified.”

Death resulting from suicide is by far the most common intentional injury among today’s seniors (13 percent), followed by homicide (2 percent), the study found.

On a positive note, Nancy Gell, an assistant professor in the department of rehabilitation and movement science at the University of Vermont in Burlington, stressed that “while falls may be the leading cause of death by unintentional injury, that does not mean that most falls result in death.”

And, Gell said, “an important takeaway from this study is the concerted need for fall-prevention efforts. [This] may include an individual fall-risk assessment, home environment assessment, and participation in fall-prevention exercise, such as balance and strengthening exercise.”

SOURCES: Lauren Gleason, M.D., geriatrics medicine fellow, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Nancy M. Gell, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of rehabilitation and movement science, University of Vermont, Burlington; May 6, 2015, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, NCHS Data Brief

HealthDay

Make Your Home Safer

There are things we can all do to make our home safer without a lot of effort.  If you need help, though, don’t hesitate to ask for it from a neighbor, family member, friend, or the VOA Handyman Program.

Check out this document that you can print and go from room to room to make small, but significant improvements!

Home Hazard Identifier Packet – Home Owner

If you’d like a visit from our Community Paramedics to help you with some medication management or blood pressure checks, please call the Aspen Club at 970.495.8560.