From 1996 to 1999, the CDC conducted a series of investigations into brain injury and discovered shocking numbers related to TBIs among the elderly. Here’s a brief snippet of the kinds of information uncovered:
“[The following pertains to California alone]Among those aged >85 years, three out of five hospitalizations resulted in a discharge to a residential facility with skilled nursing or to an in-home health service with outpatient rehabilitation services. Among older persons, an estimated annual average of 3,000 nonfatal falls results in hospitalizations for TBI at an estimated cost of $50 million.”
Let’s take a closer look at the sentences above. Of the 3,000 elderly TBIs each year, 1,800 were discharged to a nursing home or a house. NOT a brain injury rehab!
The elderly are considered such a high risk for TBIs for several factors, but unfortunately, we don’t hear much in the way of TBI prevention for the elderly. Should individuals taking certain medications receive training on how to minimize fall risk? Probably. Does this training occur? Rarely, if ever.
These “gaps” in prevention are precisely the sorts of things that future generations will be appalled by. If you work with a geriatric population, please become an advocate for safety prevention measures in your facility.
Click here to read the CDC’s report on “Non-Fatal TBIs from Falls“