Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2014

From the CDC:

Summary

What is already known about this topic?

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among persons aged ≥65 years (older adults).

What is added by this report?

In 2014, 28.7% of older adults reported falling at least once in the preceding 12 months, resulting in an estimated 29.0 million falls. Of those who fell, 37.5% reported at least one fall that required medical treatment or restricted their activity for at least 1 day, resulting in an estimated 7.0 million fall injuries.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Although falls are common, approximately half of older adults who fall do not discuss it with their health care provider. However, older adult falls are largely preventable. Health care providers can play an important role in fall prevention by 1) screening older adults for fall risk, 2) reviewing and managing medications linked to falls, and 3) recommending vitamin D where appropriate for improved bone, muscle, and nerve health.

Home Visit Models Save Money, Reduce ED Visits, Hospitalizations

From the AJMC:

Home visits by teams led by registered nurses or lay health workers can also reduce costs and utilization of services, such as emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations, according to a paper published in Health Affairs.

Past research on home-based care has focused on care delivered by teams led by primary care providers. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of 5 home visit models under the Health Care Innovation Awards of CMS.

The models used patient-extender teams to provide care to Medicare beneficiaries and address aspects of service delivery not based in primary care.   “Home visits offer an opportunity to reach high-risk, high-needs patients before a change in condition necessitates a higher level of care and can mitigate access barriers such as lack of transportation or limited mobility,” the authors wrote.

 

Duke using telemedicine to cut ER wait times

From WRAL:

Many people are often reluctant to seek emergency care at a hospital because they think they’ll be stuck in a crowded waiting room for hours before they see a doctor.

Duke University Hospital’s emergency department is trying to use telemedicine to address the concerns.

A Duke pilot program tested their use for non-critical patients soon after they arrive at times of peak demand.

“The physician can ask any question that is necessary. The patient’s not waiting any longer for anything to be started on their care,” Kapadia said.

The physician may be on call, meaning he or she is speaking to patients from home. But the physician can still order blood tests and imaging, making real progress on the patient’s case even though the patient may be sent right back out to the hospital’s waiting room.

New Bill Aims to Reduce Emergency Room Visits by Enabling Paramedics

From the Seven:

Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) led passage of Senate Bill 317 in the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee. This bill, which received unanimous, bipartisan support, establishes a pilot program to allow paramedics to provide the expanded medical care they are trained to administer, rather than being limited to transporting patients to a hospital.

“Paramedics are highly-trained, capable professionals, and we should be allowing them to take advantage of their knowledge and experience when managing patients,” said Senator Kennedy, Vice Chair of the Public Health Committee and a healthcare attorney. “Ambulance rides and emergency room stays are expensive, and create a significant, often unnecessary burden on Connecticut’s Medicaid system. Enabling paramedics to do more than drive a patient to the hospital will save the state money by ensuring that a patient is getting the appropriate care.