A  A  A   Print
Head Injuries Common in Nursing Home Falls: Study

Head Injuries Common in Nursing Home Falls: Study

MONDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- When seniors in long-term care facilities fall, more than a third hit their heads, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed video footage of 227 falls suffered by 133 seniors in a long-term care facility and found that they struck their heads in 37 percent of the incidents. People hit their head on the floor in 63 percent of such cases, most often striking hard flooring, such as tile or linoleum. Sixteen percent struck their head on furniture and 13 percent hit their head on a wall.

The finding that head impact occurred in that many falls is alarming, said study author Stephen Robinovitch, of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, and colleagues. He noted that young people rarely strike their head when they fall.

The study was published Oct. 7 in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The risk for head impact was much higher for forward falls than for backward falls, and attempts to use the arms to break falls were ineffective, according to a journal news release.

"Although we cannot identify why hand impact was generally ineffective in halting downward movement and preventing head impact, likely causes include ineffective arm placement; non-optimal muscle tone or muscle activation at impact; and insufficient strength in upper-limb, neck and trunk muscles, which is amenable to improvement through resistance training," the researchers wrote.

They said their findings suggest a number of areas for improvement, including better procedures to detect possible brain injuries due to falls in long-term care residents and exercises to strengthen upper limbs.

Creating a safer environment is another suggestion -- such as adding a flooring sub-layer that is soft enough to cushion the impact but not so soft that it impairs balance.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about older adults and falls.

SOURCE: CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), news release, Oct. 7, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.