Review by Elizabeth J. Johnson, MD
Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
Department of Emergency Medicine
As members of the American College of Emergency Physicians Trauma and Injury Prevention Section we strive to improve patient outcomes through…well prevention. Each year, $34 billion dollars are spent on treating elderly citizens (>64 years of age) with two thirds of this amount being spent on emergency department and hospital costs. One out of five falls in the elderly result in fractures or head injury with falls being the most common cause of traumatic brain injury in this demographic. Unlike in younger populations, even simple falls in the elderly can have long term effects on health and quality of life.
As we worked to get this geriatric focused newsletter out, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) marked September 23rd as National Fall Prevention Awareness Day. Along with the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, the CDC released the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries) initiative which provides elderly care guidelines for healthcare providers. STEADI encourages physicians to review medical records to ensure appropriate medications/dosages, screen patients for fall risks, and reducing osteoporosis morbidity through Vitamin D and Calcium use.
The CDC has a STEADI webpage provides triage algorithms, screening questionnaires, patient educational material, and case studies.
For more information, visit the STEADI website.
Additional resources and assessment tools are available through the American Geriatrics Society.