Many spinal cord injury patients in Homestead sustain their injuries in falls or traffic accidents. A new study, however, suggests that more patients today are sustaining their injuries in falls.
A study in the Journal of Neurotrauma reported that spinal cord injuries are on the rise across the country. The main cause of these injuries now appears to be related to falls, with seniors most affected. In the past, it was assumed that car accidents were the leading cause of these injuries.
The study looked at 43 000 spinal cord injury patients who visited emergency room departments between 2007 and 2009. In 2007, about 52 people per million in the 18-64 age group were admitted to ERs with spinal cord injuries. By 2009, that rate had dropped to about 50 people per million. At the same time, the injury rate for seniors age 65 and older increased from 79 to 88 people per million. During this period, fall accidents were responsible for 41.5% of the injuries and traffic accidents accounted for 35.5% of the spinal cord injuries studied. The rate of fall-related spinal cord injuries among seniors also jumped in the same time period. In 2007, fall-related spinal cord injuries were responsible for about 23.6% of spinal cord injuries among patients over 64. By 2009, about 30% of spinal cord injuries affecting seniors were linked to falls.
The study found some additionally disturbing news about seniors and spinal cord injuries:
•The average age for spinal cord injuries among adults is 51
•Seniors who have sustained spinal cord injuries are four times more likely to die in the ER due to those injuries, when compared with younger patients
•Seniors who have sustained spinal cord injuries are six times more likely to die due to their injuries after being admitted to a hospital, when compared with younger spinal cord injury patients.
The study’s authors have stated that the reason for the changes may be because the overall population is aging while seniors remain more active in their later years, increasing the risk of falls. Improved safety systems in cars as well as improved safety laws may also be lowering the rate of injuries in car accidents in Homestead and other communities.
According to researchers, programs targeting falls among seniors could drop spinal cord injury rates across the country. While there are no immediate plans in place for wide-reaching education programs, safety experts agree that there are things that can be done right now to prevent slip and fall injuries in Homestead and other cities:
•Help elderly loved ones get quality medical care. In many cases, falls can be caused by declining vision, certain health conditions, medication, or changing mobility. Ensure that seniors get quality medical care and advice as well as regular check-ups so that any health conditions can be managed.
•Encourage elderly loved ones to stay physically fit. Good muscle tone and strength can help prevent falls and can keep seniors active and healthy longer.
•Investigate care options carefully. Unfortunately, poor supervision as well as neglect and abuse in assisted living facilities can contribute to falls. If a loved one needs caregiving, run background checks and check references carefully.
•Remove obstacles that can lead to falls. Making a home more accessible can mean installing grab bars in the bathroom and no-slip treads in the shower and on hard surface floors. Simple changes can mean much better safety for a loved one.
Flaxman Law Group is a full-service law firm located in Homestead. If you would like to speak to someone about an injury you or a loved one have sustained, you can reach our attorneys today for a free consultation.