Slip and Fall injuries can have serious implications for seniors, and often result in long-term disability, loss of independence or even death. In addition, there can also be significant personal costs.
Wet or slippery floors, abrupt changes in flooring height, inadequate lighting, poorly built or maintained walkways and stairways and other negligent situations can present a significant risk to able bodied persons. But when senior citizens are involved, the risk is increased exponentially.
Even a minor slip and fall can result in broken bones and hospitalization. Slip and fall hospitalizations account for approximately 5.0% of all senior citizen hospitalizations and 77% of all injury hospitalizations. The most frequent type of Hospitalized injury is orthopedic which includes fractures and dislocations. Of those seniors who are hospitalized for slip and fall injuries, almost half will have sustained a fracture of the hip.
Extrinsic factors associated with an elevated risk of falling include various features of the physical environment such as poor lighting, stairs and a lack of handrails. Extrinsic factors have been implicated as greater risk factors for the 60-74 age category.
The outcomes of fall injuries among seniors tend to be serious and often result in disability or graduated loss of independence or death. The outcomes are not limited to physical trauma but include social withdrawal, psychological trauma and increased dependence.