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Prevalence of unreported falls in the elderly

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Beaudette, Courtney R
Chappy, Sharon
MS, Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
May 2011
Behavior modification; Aging; Falls (Accidents) in old age
Falls are a serious health concern in the elderly. It is estimated that 30% to 40% of community-dwelling elders aged 65 years and older fall each year. However, no specific data is available to confirm the number of unreported falls. Falls are the most common cause of injuries and hospital admissions for trauma in older adults (Lueckenotte & Conley, 2009). Inpatient fall-prevention programs are focusing efforts at interventions to reduce serious injury; such programs may also be directed towards community-dwelling individuals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of unreported falls at home in the elderly. A descriptive approach was used to explore the prevalence of unreported falls in community-dwelling elderly people. Data were collected using a questionnaire that was distributed to a convenience sample of people age 65 years and older at a northeast Wisconsin community senior center. The survey contained questions related to demographics and falls at home. Responses were kept anonymous. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data to determine the number of unreported falls in community-dwelling elderly. The results showed that 20.8% of survey respondents reported falling at home. This suggests that risks of further injury or even death should be considered. Respondents ranged in age from 65 years to 91 years (m=73.2 years). Data support additional screening for fall risk in the primary care setting when appropriate. Interventions can be implemented to reduce the risk of falling at home. A simple medication change, assistive devices, physical therapy, or environmental modifications are several ways primary care providers can intervene to reduce the risk of falling in the elderly
A Clinical paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree of Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner.
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