Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Seniors in long-term care residences: high risk of head injuries

Date:
October 7, 2013
Source:
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Summary:
Seniors in long-term care facilities are at high risk of head injuries, with 37 percent of people experiencing head impact in falls.

Seniors in long-term care facilities are at high risk of head injuries, with 37% of people experiencing head impact in falls, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Falls account for more than 60% of hospital stays for traumatic brain injury in seniors over age 65 years, and the incidence is increasing, especially in people over age 80.

"Recent studies have documented a rapid increase among older adults in age-adjusted rates for fall-related head injuries, especially in the long-term care environment," writes Stephen Robinovitch, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, with coauthors. "The reasons for these trends are poorly understood."

To understand why falls result in head injury, researchers conducted a study based on video footage of 227 falls in 133 residents of a long-term care facility. They found that in 37% of falls, people struck their heads. In 63% of cases, the head hit the ground, in 13% a wall and in 16% furniture. Most of the falls to the floor hit hard flooring such as tile or linoleum.

"We found that head impact occurred in 37% of falls," the authors write. "By any measure, this is an alarmingly high prevalence."

By contrast, head impact is rare in falls in young people. The researchers also examined the factors that associated with risk for head impact in residents of long-term care facilities. The likelihood of head impact was much higher for forward falls than for backward falls. Also, attempts to use the arms to break the fall were ineffective.

Hand impact occurred in 74% of falls in seniors. "Although we cannot identify why hand impact was generally ineffective in halting downward movement and preventing head impact, likely causes include ineffective arm placement; nonoptimal muscle tone or muscle activation at impact; and insufficient strength in upper-limb, neck and trunk muscles, which is amenable to improvement through resistance training," the authors write.

The study results suggest three areas for improvement: better procedures to detect possible brain injuries due to falls in long-term care residents; exercises to strengthen upper limbs; and design of safer environments, for example adding a compliant sublayer to flooring, soft enough to cushion the impact but not so soft that it impairs balance.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Schonnop, Y. Yang, F. Feldman, E. Robinson, M. Loughin, S. N. Robinovitch. Prevalence of and factors associated with head impact during falls in older adults in long-term care. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2013; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.130498

Cite This Page:

Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Seniors in long-term care residences: high risk of head injuries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007122542.htm>.
Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2013, October 7). Seniors in long-term care residences: high risk of head injuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007122542.htm
Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Seniors in long-term care residences: high risk of head injuries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007122542.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins