Editorials

Falls in older people

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2320 (Published 25 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2320
  1. A John Campbell, professor of geriatric medicine
  1. 1Dunedin School of Medicine, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. john.campbell{at}otago.ac.nz

    Consider lowering the risk of injury as well as lowering the risk of a fall

    Falls in older people are frequent and serious. This is particularly so for those in their 90s as the linked study by Fleming and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.a2227) shows.1 Of their cohort, 60% fell within a year, 80% were unable to get up after a fall, and 30% had lain on the floor for an hour or more. Of those who were alone when they fell, 80% did not activate their alarms.

    Fall prevention programmes decrease but do not eliminate the risk of an older person falling.2 Falls remain frequent even in trial intervention groups. Also many older people at risk of falling do not think prevention programmes are relevant to them.3

    As well as needing to improve the effectiveness, availability, and acceptability of fall prevention programmes, we need …

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