(Reuters Health) More efforts are needed to prevent falls among the elderly, especially those just discharged from the hospital, Australian researchers say. Older adults have a greater risk of falling to begin with, but this risk heightens considerably within the first six months of a hospital release. More than half of those who do fall during this period suffer serious injury, such as hip fractures. Exercise interventions, vitamin supplementation and patient education about high-risk scenarios are known to reduce the risk of falling for the elderly in general. However, in a new review of previous research the Australian team found that these strategies were not as effective in older people following hospital discharge. The shift from “hospital to home” is a sensitive transitional time, said study leader Chiara Naseri from the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science at Curtin University.
“Hospital stays are an adverse event,” Naseri told Reuters Health by email. “The older patient faces prolonged bed-rest, changes in medications, diet and daily routine. And their progressive deterioration doesn’t stop once they reach home, especially as they are generally still medically unwell and recovering from their hospital stay.”