Only Six in 10 Seniors Follow Up After ED Visit for Fall-Related Head Injury

Authors say greater adoption of fall assessments and prevention strategies needed
Only Six in 10 Seniors Follow Up After ED Visit for Fall-Related Head Injury
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

FRIDAY, Dec. 22, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Only 59 percent of older adults visiting the emergency department for fall-related head injury follow up with their primary care physician, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Richard D. Shih, M.D., from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, and colleagues assessed the rate of follow-up by older adults who sustain a fall-related head injury resulting in an emergency department visit.

The researchers found that 905 of 1,527 older adults reported follow-up with their primary care practitioner. Of those reporting follow-up, 72 percent reported receiving a fall assessment and 56 percent adopted a fall prevention strategy. A history of cancer or hypertension was significantly more common among participants with follow-up.

"When referred to physical therapy, patients may be more likely to adopt fall prevention interventions and home safety modifications that have been shown to reduce recurrent fall, hospitalization, and mortality," Shih said in a statement. "Given the importance of fall prevention in this high-risk group, we strongly endorse that fall-risk assessment and patient education is performed in the emergency department or by the primary care physician. The physician follow-up should include fall-risk assessment and initiation of any appropriate interventions to prevent subsequent falls and fall-related injury."

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