Falls are one of the great injury risks to elderly patients, particularly those experiencing sudden changes in their health status. After spending their entire lives with a certain sense of balance, muscle deterioration, illness, and cognitive changes can drastically increase the risk of a fall occurring.
The biggest fear when a fall occurs is that a hip is broken. Broken hips are linked with high mortality rates in elderly patients. A recent study published in the April edition of Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation sought to determine whether targeted physical therapy could decrease the risk of falls or minimize the risk of injury if a fall does occur.
The results were mixed but overall positive. Though the number of falls did not decrease, the number of falls requiring hospitalization decreased by 50 percent. The science behind this is fairly simple. By reintegrating the brain into the current physical limitations of the patient, the patient has a much better idea of how their body is functioning.
Overcoming years of habits takes time and dedication. But falls are particularly common in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, where the staff can be trained to assist with these types of therapies. As it is, too many medical facilities do far too little to prevent falls, despite the high mortality and injury rate associated with these devastating events.
If you or your loved one has suffered due to a fall in a medical environment, it is worth determining whether or not negligence on the part of the medical staff occurred. Medical providers are trained to prevent these types of incidents from occurring, so if one does occur it is only natural to ask questions. Please contact an experienced attorney who will know the right questions to ask to determine whether or not the fall was preventable.