Falls in older people
Falls cause 400 000 presentations to emergency departments each year in the UK
- By: Sarah Ruane, Alan Barton
Falls among the older population have massive economic and clinical implications for the healthcare system. Falls cost the NHS about £15m (€17m; $23m) a year.1 More than 400 000 patients presenting to emergency departments in the United Kingdom have had falls,2 and they require multidisciplinary management from cardiology to urology to social services. The problem of falls in older people will grow as people live longer and the older population increases. It is important that doctors can adequately assess, treat, and manage an older patient who has fallen and are aware of current legislation surrounding the prevention of falls (box 1).
When taking the history and examining the patient, ask yourself why this person fell at the time they did and in the place they did.3 The key to establishing what caused the fall and the likelihood of a fall occurring again includes the history from the patient with a collateral