After a Fall

Senior falls may lead to the ER

emergency-falls

At some point in our lives, almost all of us have lost our balance or tripped and taken a fall. In most cases, we get back up and move on. However, the risk of falling and seriously injuring yourself increases greatly as you get older. For elderly patients, the risk of falling is increased, and can represent a serious health issue.

Consider the following:

  • One third of adults aged 65 and older fall each year. Of those, 20-30% suffer moderate to severe injuries.
  • The rate of falls in the elderly population aged 85 and older is even higher: more than half experience a fall each year.
  • Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for other types of injuries.

Older adults require specialized care

Obvious injuries resulting from a fall, such as fractures (a broken bone), open wounds or head injuries that may or may not be associated with loss of consciousness, can require an Emergency Room visit. A fall may cause internal injuries, such as rib fractures, pelvic, hip or spinal fractures, so thorough examination and assessment are needed by a qualified health care professional. In addition, certain medications, such as blood thinners, can have consequences in those who have fallen by causing excessive external or internal bleeding, which can include internal bleeding in the brain.

Detailed, specialized care for seniors

The experts at Henry Ford West Bloomfield’s Emergency Department are skilled at recognizing, assessing and treating injuries from falls. Examinations and certain diagnostic tests can help pinpoint if certain injuries are present. Our emergency medicine specialists will immediately evaluate for pain and assess patients for the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  •  Loss of consciousness
  • Pain with movement
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness, mental confusion
  • Dehydration

Once a patient who has fallen is stabilized and treated for any injuries and conditions that are present, a care plan, which may involve an observation stay or an inpatient admission, may be put into place.

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If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department.

For your safety, please select a MyChart video visit on demand or call our MyCare Advice Line at 844-262-1949 before scheduling if:

  • You currently have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In the past 21 days, you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • In the past 14 days, you have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are experiencing a new loss of taste and/or sense of smell
  • If you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms in the last 3 days:
    • fever
    • chills
    • drenching sweats
    • new cough
    • shortness of breath
    • body aches
    • headache
    • sore throat
    • runny nose or nasal congestion
    • nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email CommunicationAccess@hfhs.org.

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