3 simple ways to help prevent falls among older patients.

“This is important information for any families with older members. Balance declines at age 65. Field sobriety tests are different for drivers >65 years of age I heard on the radio.” Bill Chesnut, MD

 Three simple ways to help prevent falls among older patients  AMA newswire_9/22/2015, 3:30 PM

Fall-related injuries among older Americans are rising as the people age 65 and older become a larger percentage of the population. In 2013, 2.5 million older Americans were treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls, resulting in $34 billion in direct medical costs. Fortunately, several opportunities are available to help physicians prevent falls among their patients.

With National Falls Prevention Awareness Day Wednesday, sponsored by the National Council on Aging, it’s a good time to work with your patients to minimize their risk of falling. Here are three things you can do:

  1. 1.Screen patients by asking if they have fallen in the past year, feel unsteady or worry about falling.
  2. Review patients’ medications and stop, switch or reduce the dose of drugs that increase the risk for falls.
  3. Recommend daily Vitamin D with calcium. (The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that everyone > 65 years or who had a fracture falling from standing height have a bone density test and blood tests for hypovitaminosis D. Bill Chesnut, MD)

Resources to help

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched its STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries) initiative for health care professionals in association with the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. Rooted in established clinical guidelines and scientifically tested interventions, STEADI helps physicians address fall risk, identify modifiable risk factors and provide effective interventions for patients.