CDC Reports Increasing Deaths from Falls for Older Adults

PUBLISHED: May 14, 2018
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Medical Office, Rural Health Clinics

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that deaths from unintentional injuries are the seventh leading cause of death among older adults and falls account for the largest percentage of those deaths. Approximately one in four U.S. residents aged ≥65 years (older adults) report falling each year, and fall-related emergency department visits are estimated at approximately 3 million per year. The rate of deaths from falls increased in the United States by an average of 3.0% per year during 2007–2016.

The CDC is encouraging health care providers to be aware that deaths from falls are increasing nationally among older adults but that falls are preventable. Falls and fall prevention should be discussed during annual wellness visits when health care providers can assess fall risk, educate patients about falls, and select appropriate interventions.

Research demonstrates that interventions that target multiple risk factors can reduce the rate of falls. Healthcare providers should address modificable risk factors during the AWV, including but not limited to:

  • Polypharmacy
  • Gait/strength
  • Balance Issues

Included with today’s notice are example policies related to falls prevention and the Annual Wellness visit, as well as a link to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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