Healthcare Costs Attributed to Falls:
The Pennsylvania Department of Health collects statistics for injuries that result in hospitalizations, per cause, per age group. In 2014, these injuries increased greatly for ages 45 to 64, decreased slightly for those 65 to 74, and increased again greatly for those over 75.
Below are the results for three counties in Pennsylvania: Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. The numbers are not weighted for total population of each county, but rather represent individual counts.
The National Council on Aging reported that in 2013, that out of 25 injury categories and 7 age groups, total hospital charges for all injuries and ages was greater than $9,100,000,000. Of this amount, $3,700,000,000 was spent on one injury type for one two age groups. This was for fall injuries for adults aged 65 years and older.
Using numbers from the U.S. census for 2013, the population of these three counties aged 65 years or older is approximately 385,762. In costs are divided evenly among the approximate U.S. population of this same age, 44,701,074. The total cost of falls for older adults in Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties was approximately $31,930,316 in 2013.
9,790 individuals in the Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties were reported as having sustained hospitalizations due to a fall. If we consider national costs consistent, the average hospitalization cost for these local older adults was $3,261.52 per fall. This figure obscures the true cost. Some of these falls result in death while others lead to chronic and permanent injuries, which require increasing amount of funding for the remainder of that individual’s life.
How can you help prevent falls in older adults?
We do not have to wait around for a fall in order to act. Each of us has a role in mitigating the fall risk of older adults. In the senior’s home, we need to be especially vigilant, because this is where they spend the most time, and usually alone.
These are the concrete steps we can take:
- Clear floor of clutter.
- Ensure older adult is wearing nonskid footwear or shoes that fit.
- If they wear glasses, clean them regularly and ensure use.
- If the older adult is living with dementia, pay attention to the position of their head. Their line of sight is restricting, so they should be looking down at their path ahead.
- Complete physical therapy exercises to make gains when possible and reevaluate weaknesses.
- Keep corridors and bathroom properly lighted.
- Be available to assistance in case of emergencies.
- Reorganize closets and kitchen to be easily assessible to older adult.
Most, if not all, of these tasks require a consistent presence in the home to ensure compliance. NursePartners is a privately-owned home care company providing traditional home care and dementia care services. We have been around since 2002, founded and operated by a registered nurse and certified dementia practitioner.
Let us help you help them. Call us to learn about what makes NursePartners the agency of choice for families in the Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia county areas. We also call this area home!
All sources were referenced today, on June 29, 2019. The organization names are hyperlinked below.