SALT LAKE CITY — Each week, about 200 Utahns 65 years of age or older suffer a fall and receive medical help for their injuries at an emergency room, and about a third of those people require hospitalization.

That’s according to a report released this week by the Utah Department of Health.

Such falls are the “leading cause injury-related death” and hospitalization for Utahns in that age group, according to the department.

About one-third of Utahns 65 and older are expected to have a fall of some kind this year, said Sheryl Gardner, falls prevention specialist for the Utah Department of Health.

“Our goal is to help seniors remain healthy and independent. One fall can be the beginning of a downward health spiral that may include limited mobility, dementia from a head injury, and complications from major surgeries like blood clots and seizures,” Gardner said in a statement. “Even minor falls can impact a person’s sense of safety and well-being.”

About three Utah seniors die each week from a fall, the department said. Utahns ages 65 and older account for 77.8 percent of fall-related deaths within the state as of 2016, according to the agency.

The department’s report found that despite this prevalence, fall hospitalizations among seniors were noticeably more common nationally every year from 2008 to 2016. The rate of fall deaths in Utah was also lower in 2016 compared to national data.

In 2014, more than $121 million was paid in medical expenses resulting from falls suffered by a person 65 or older in Utah, with more than $112 million of those costs paid by Medicare, the report says.

“More than half of Utahns aged 65 (or older) who were hospitalized due to a fall were discharged to residential care or a rehabilitation facility. (Of those patients), only 24 percent were able to return home,” according …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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