Falls Responsible for Most Deaths Among NYC Seniors
The incident of falls among aging New Yorkers is on the rise, according to a new report for the New York City Department of Health – up 22% in just four years. In 2011, falls caused nearly 300 deaths and 46,000 hospital and ER visits in the Big Apple. The data, which examine unintentional, accidental falls among elderly adults in NYC, shows that women are more likely to fall but fatalities are higher among men. The five NYC neighborhoods with the highest hospitalization rates due to falls among older adults were in Staten Island, east Manhattan and northwest Bronx. The report’s findings have serious implications for community-based providers, and healthcare organizations in New York City. According to national statistics, falls account for over $30 billion in health care costs each year. These numbers are amplified by findings that show 78% of adults hospitalized for falls required further care after discharge. While only 22% of adults return home after a fall, the report demonstrates that the home is where close to 60% of falls occur. Why is the home a dangerous zone for trips and falls?
- Trip hazards were prevalent among older adults surveyed; 69% reported throw rugs or some degree of clutter in their home.
- Almost half (48%) reported regular use of four or more prescription medications, which is known to increase risk of falls.
- Few older adults reported having grab bars (in shower, 41%; near toilet, 16%). Almost half (46%) reported using a night light.
- Only 9% of those surveyed, including those that had fallen, reported ever having a health care provider talk with them about falls prevention