The likelihood of an initial trauma being a predictor of future trauma grows exponentially in the senior adult community. Falls are one of the most frequent causes of injury in the senior adult population. Thousands of elderly people are hospitalized annually from head traumas caused by falls.
For the elderly population, falls are a major cause of morbidity. Over 2.4 million falls to older adults were classified as non-fatal, but most of the falls required emergency room care. Falls are even more deadly for those over the age of 65. Seniors over the age of 65 are at a greater risk for future falls if they have suffered from a fall that necessitated an emergency room visit due to head trauma. The study also found that women are more likely to suffer subsequent falls due to slow healing from fractures and illnesses like osteoporosis.
The majority of falls suffered by those over the age of 65 are the result of environmental factors. A study conducted by The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center over 18-months followed 263 adults over the age of 65. During the research period, they evaluated patients admitted to the Level 1 Trauma Center for treatment related to a fall. They found that over 33% of all older adults admitted for minor head trauma returned to the emergency room within three months.
Another study also conducted over a 12-year period highlighted an increase in senior adult falls, and the patients that were treated in the hospital eventually needed home health care services because of diminished mobility and loss of muscle strength. While most of the patients didn’t require long-term hospital treatment, most would later need help to prevent future falls.
Both studies support the likelihood that future falls are predicted by an earlier head trauma, and the initial trauma was directly connected to a decline in motor functions.
There is little doubt that preventing a fall is maybe the best preventive solution for an elder adult. There are various medical and environmental factors that contribute to an increased likelihood that someone will suffer from a fall, but the aging process slows down the body’s ability to maintain stability. Also, neuromuscular mechanisms in muscles decline as age climbs, making older adults less capable of recovery from a traumatic fall. The study also suggests that, because many in the senior community are already suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, which have medications that adversely impact balance, they are even more susceptible to falls.
Because the vast majority of elderly head traumas are caused by environmental factors, it’s important for families to take every consideration to protect their loved ones from harmful or unsafe venues. The long-term ramifications of a fall or other trauma inducing incident in a public place can wreak havoc on personal savings and income.
If you or a family member has suffered injury from a nursing home injury or general personal injury, you should contact The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe to consider your options regarding premises liability actions. If you think there were environmental factors at play that contributed to trauma suffered by you or a family member, then you should contact the personal injury accident attorneys at The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, in Long Island, New York. The team of personal injury lawyers can sit with you to discuss the legal support and solutions available for your lawsuit.