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Posted on April 17th, 2014, by

In actuality, the problem of falls among the elderly population is very significant because elderly patients grow vulnerable to falls in the course of aging. In this regard, multiple factors provoke their vulnerability to falls, including the overall aging, the medication they use, the deterioration of physical condition, poor coordination and other factors. In such a situation, nurses should pay a particular attention to the adequate assessment and prevention of the risk of falls of elderly patients because falls may have negative effects on patients’ health. In this regard, nurses should first assess the condition of patients and their environment and secure them from the risk of falls.

Fall prevention among the elderly population is very important because elderly patients are vulnerable to the high risk of falls. As patients grow older, their physical condition and coordination deteriorate, while the risk of falls increases because patients cannot just balance their body properly to keep them straight and to avoid falling. In addition, often elderly patients undergo psychoactive medication which is used for the treatment of their health problems. The risk of the visual impairment is also high that also increases the risk of falls of elderly patients. As a result, patients suffer from falls, which may have extremely negative effects on their health, while in some cases falls may lead to lethal outcomes for elderly patients.

There may be different reasons for falls among the elderly population and nurses should always come prepared to the risk of falls, when they work with elderly people. In response, to the vulnerability of elderly people to fall, the adequate interference recommendations should be developed. The following strengths of recommendation rating should be applied to practical recommendations on the prevention of falls among the elderly population:

Table 1. Strength of Recommendation Rating System


A

A strong recommendation that the clinicians provide the intervention to eligible patients.
Good evidence was found that the intervention improves health outcomes and the conclusion is that benefits substantially outweigh harm.

B

A recommendation that clinicians provide this intervention to eligible patients.
At least fair evidence was found that the intervention improves health outcomes and the  conclusion is that benefits outweigh harm.

C

No recommendation for or against the routine provision of the intervention is made.
At least fair evidence was found that the intervention can improve health outcomes, but the balance of benefits and harms is too close to  justify a general recommendation.

D

Recommendation is made against routinely providing the intervention to asymptomatic patients.
At least fair evidence was found that the intervention is ineffective or that harm outweighs benefits.

I

Evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against routinely providing the intervention.
Evidence that the intervention is lacking, or of poor quality, or conflicting, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.

Based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force rating system (Harris et al, 2001)

Screening and assessment of elderly patients are essential to find out the extent to which they are vulnerable to falls. In this regard, the focused history of patients has to be examined by nurses to find out whether falls have ever occurred to patients before. The medication review will help to find out whether medication can provoke falls in elderly patients.

The analysis of the history of relevant risk factors is also important since the analysis can reveal such problems as chronic diseases which may provoke falls in elderly patients. If patients have suffered falls in the past, especially recently, they are more likely to fall again and the preventive measures should be implemented to minimize the risk of falls of such patients.

Furthermore, nurses should conduct physical examination to assess the vulnerability of elderly patients to falls. The physical condition of patients is very important and nurses can identify patients, whose physical condition makes them vulnerable to falls. Functional and environmental assessments are also important because they give insights toward the functional condition of elderly patients and the environment which may increase or decrease the risk of falls of elderly patients.

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