Maryland, we have a problem...
Falls pose a serious risk to public safety. Annually, since 2009, death secondary to a fall has increased approximately 3 percent nationally. Maryland also experienced a similar trend in fall related deaths, with greater than 15,500 deaths following a fall in 2020, which equates to 54-68 fall-related deaths per 100,000 people. At the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, falls are among the most prevalent mechanism of injury for our patients —resulting in orthopedic, traumatic brain, spinal cord and other injuries. Many of these fall-related injuries and deaths occur in patients over 65 years old potentially having a lifelong impact. In other words, Maryland we have a problem.
But there is a lot we can do to protect our aging population from falls. We break down the complexities related to the struggles with medications, vision impairments, mobility or physical weakness. As it turns out, we must start with checking in with ourselves. Complete an honest assessment to identify risk factors, such as medications that may cause dizziness, vision impairments, mobility limitations, physical weakness and even our physical environment. Recognize where you can make a positive impact. Basic interventions, such as ensuring your environment is free of all area rugs, electrical cords and clutter, can make a big difference in preventing falls. Practice balance by participating in actives such as Tai Chi. Find other safe local group walks or other low impact social events to stay active and mobile. Bottom line, prevention is the key to safety and all of us in Maryland are empowered to decrease the risk of injury including those from falls.
Blog post provided by:
Brad Antlitz, BSN, RN
Assistant Nurse Manager
Neurotrauma Critical Care & Intermediate Care
R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
University of Maryland Medical Center