Seniors in long-term care homes have high risk of head injury from falls: study
Published Monday, October 7, 2013 1:11PM EDT
TORONTO -- Seniors in long-term care facilities have a high risk of falling, and a new study finds many hit their heads after taking a tumble.
Researchers at Simon Fraser University in B.C. say falls account for more than 60 per cent of hospital admissions for traumatic brain injury in seniors over age 65.
And they say the incidence of such falls is increasing, especially in people over 80.
Researchers conducted a study based on video footage of 227 falls among 133 residents in long-term care homes.
They found that in 37 per cent of falls, people hit their heads and the impact was most often on the ground -- typically hard flooring like tile or linoleum.
The researchers say adding a type of compliant flooring that cushions impact but does not impair balance could help prevent head trauma.
"Recent studies have documented a rapid increase among older adults ... for fall-related head injuries, especially in the long-term care environment," said Stephen Robinovitch, principal investigator of the study in Monday's Canadian Medical Association Journal.
"The reasons for these trends are poorly understood," said Robinovitch, who specializes in injury prevention and mobility biomechanics.
But one reason may be that more seniors are living with several health conditions and taking multiple medications to treat them, which may increase their likelihood of falling, the authors write.