Benjamin was having dinner with his wife and two kids when he receives a phone call from his sister. “Dad is in the emergency room – he fell a few hours ago and was just admitted into Emergency.” The look of concern on his face, signaled to his wife that it is something serious. He quickly grabbed his car keys and rushed to the hospital.
Many thoughts raced through his mind during the drive.
“How could he be so clumsy?”
“I hope there’s nothing serious…”
“What could have caused him to get into this accident?”
He sees his sister from a distance. Shaken with fear and eyes red from crying. After a heartfelt exchange, they both shared a sigh of relief – their father only bruised his hip and had minor injuries.
Stories such as Benjamin’s are common. Millions of older adults aged 65 and over fall every year; It is reported that as many as 1 in every 4 seniors experience a fall each year.1 In fact, there were 9.3 million older adults treated in emergency departments for fall injuries in the USA in 2016.2 And sadly, experiencing a fall once will double their chances of falling again.3
This mirrors what happened to their father. A few weeks after the ER visit, he was back in Emergency. But this time with a gash on his forehead that required stitching. Statistics show that 1 in 5 falls cause serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury.4,5 These can be very serious, especially if the person is taking certain medicines like blood thinners. This concern prompted the doctor for a brain scan and to look at their father’s medication history.
Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, antidepressants, and even some over-the-counter medicines, may affect balance. After the medication review and a few appointments, it was clear that he has been over-medicating and that increased his chances of falling. A study has shown that poor medication adherence may increase the rate of falling for older adults.6
Typically, these injuries from falls can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live independently at home.7 Fortunately, their dad has a second chance to still get around and continue doing most of his everyday activity.
With progress from modern technology, thankfully, there is a solution. This is the problem that CuePath is committed to remedy.
Please contact your local pharmacist if you have questions or would like to stay safe with your medications.
Disclaimer: While the following experience may be based on real world examples, the printed story along with names mentioned are fictional.
- Bergen G, Stevens MR, Burns ER. Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:993–998. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6537a2
- HCUPnet, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (2016). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://hcupnet.ahrq.gov/. For more information about HCUP data see http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/. Accessed 5 August 2019.
- O’Loughlin J et al. Incidence of and risk factors for falls and injurious falls among the community-dwelling elderly. American journal of epidemiology, 1993, 137:342-54.
- Alexander BH, Rivara FP, Wolf ME. The cost and frequency of hospitalization for fall–related injuries in older adults. American Journal of Public Health 1992;82(7):1020–3.
- Sterling DA, O’Connor JA, Bonadies J. Geriatric falls: injury severity is high and disproportionate to mechanism. Journal of Trauma–Injury, Infection and Critical Care 2001;50(1):116–9
- Berry, Sarah D, et al. “Poor Adherence to Medications May Be Associated with Falls.” The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Oxford University Press, May 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854886/.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. Accessed August 5, 2016.