Hospitals Charge $34,854 Per Fall

Seniors must take steps to prevent falls …

(Betsy Abramson, Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging)

I read the recent article “Losing their footing: more seniors are drinking, falling, and dying” with great interest — but sadly, not shock or surprise.

One in four people age 65 or older falls every year. Hospitals are charging nearly $35,000 per incident. PHOTO: Garry Knight, CC

In addition to alcohol use, medications, vision problems, and even the wrong shoes can be major factors in an older adult having a fall.

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With one in four people age 65 or older falling every year, the huge scope of the falls problem may be the biggest surprise.

Older adults often laugh off a fall to avoid embarrassment or explain it away as klutzy, but the consequences of a fall are anything but funny.

For people age 65 or older, injuries from falls are the single biggest cause of accidental death nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But that’s not all. Falls are responsible for serious injuries that are painful and costly. The average hospital charge due to injuries from a fall was $34,854 in 2014. Hospital and emergency department charges for falls that year totaled well over $700 million in the state.

Even falls without an injury make the older adult worry that he or she might fall again. This leads to a loss of confidence, depression, isolation, and physical decline that puts the person at an even greater risk for falls.

The good news is that, contrary to what many believe, falls are not a normal part of aging. They can be prevented.

Next time you visit your doctor, ask for a falls risk assessment to determine your risk of a fall and what interventions may help. You may require physical therapy, need a medication review, or be a great candidate for my next suggestion. READ FULL POST AT MADISON.COM

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