Journal Mobile

KE Anderson
Journal Issue: 
Volume 38: Issue 2: 2008




With a rapidly ageing population, doctors in all specialties are likely to encounter older people with falls. Falls in the elderly are common and associated with major morbidity and mortality. Falls cause injuries, fractures, loss of confidence and independence, depression and death. Recurrent falls and fear of falling are the most  common  reasons  for  an  older  person  to  require  nursing  home  care. An initial fall may be a manifestation of an acute illness and may be the only presenting feature.  However,  it  is  known  that  an  index  fall  is  a  risk  for  future  falls  and approximately half of those who fall once are likely to do so again. There is good evidence to support a multidisciplinary risk factor assessment and approach to the prevention of falls. Up to 30% of falls in community-dwelling older adults may be prevented if this standardised approach is applied. In addition, falls of  hospital  inpatients  are  difficult  for  patients  and  staff.  Carers  in  environments where specialist medicine for the elderly services are not routinely available often struggle to minimise and manage falls. While arguably more problematic to manage, a simple structured approach to these falls can also reduce risk. This article will cover the recommended approach to the management of older people  presenting  with  a  fall  and  give  some  guidance  about  managing  falls  of hospital inpatients.