Falls facts

        Each year, millions of adults aged 65 and older fall:

  • One out of three older adults (those aged 65 or older) falls each year, but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.
  • In 2013, 2.5 million nonfatal falls among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 734,000 of these patients were hospitalized.
  • In 2013, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, were $34 billion.
  • Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, and head traumas.  These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • About one-half of fatal falls among older adults are due to TBI.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.
  • The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
  • Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.
Fall-related Deaths
  • The death rates from falls among older men and women have risen sharply over the past decade.
  • In 2013, about 25,500 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.
  • Men are more likely than women to die from a fall. After taking age into account, the fall death rate is approximately 40% higher for men than for women.
  • Older whites are 2.7 times more likely to die from falls as their black counterparts.
Assisting the falling client:
Care of the client after falling:

        Transfer of the patient to a hospital emergency room is appropriate if he or she exhibits the following injuries or signs after a fall:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Major fracture or fracture likely to require surgical intervention
  •  Deformity of limbs
  • Acute change in neurological status or cognition.