Patient Care

Making Fall Prevention “Routine”

To reduce the millions of falls occurring each year, the CDC developed an initiative to make fall prevention routine in health care.


 

Every second of every day in the U.S. an older adult falls, according to CDC data. Falls are the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans. The report cites 29 million falls in 2014 alone.

“Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. But he adds: “Health care providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves.”

Related: Preventing Falls and Saving Costs

The CDC created Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI), an initiative to make fall prevention routine in health care. The program provides information on how to screen for falls, online training for providers, videos on conducting functional assessments, and brochures for health care providers (HCPs), patients, and caregivers.

Among the suggestions for HCPs:

  • Ask patients whether they have fallen in the past year, feel unsteady, or worry about falling
  • Review medications and stop, switch, or reduce medicines that could increase the risk of falls
  • Recommend vitamin D supplements

For older adults, the CDC recommends:

  • Talk to a HCP about falls and fall prevention
  • Tell a HCP if you have fallen—fewer than half of Americans who fall tell their doctor
  • Have your eyes checked, and update eye prescriptions
  • Participate in evidence-based programs like tai chi to improve balance and strengthen legs
  • Get rid of fall hazards in your home

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