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Things I learned reading the CDC's Compendium on Fall Prevention

3 things learned from CDC Report on Fall Prevention

Typically I read books about sparkly vampires  but over the weekend I dug into the CDC's Compendium of Effective Fall Interventions. It was great. Get yourself some snacks and click this link to read 174 pages for yourself.

Unlike the Twilight series you don't have to be on team Jacob or team Whats-his-face. You can choose to be on team exercise, team vitamins, team medical intervention, or team assessment of environment. 
After reading it all, I'm on team assessment of environment, but only if done by a professional! Go team!  

Unrelated: That's Maria from Toilet Talk. She is a celebrity in my world.

1st thing I learned: You can reduce falls 50% or more!
The studies mentioned by the CDC have fall reduction rates of 50% or more and not just one study, multiple studies. Three separate studies that had professionals visit the subjects in their homes and assessed their health and environment showed fall reductions of 61%, 50% and 55%. That is amazing! Sending a nurse and an OT to someone's home to assess their environment and medications is a great idea.

2. Fixing people's health problems seemed really effective.
Four studies fixed people's health issues and saw fewer falls. By installing needed pace makers, reviewing medications, conducting cataract surgeries, and fixing foot problems. These studies showed improvements of: 58%, 46%, 34%, and 36% fewer falls! Fixing health problems works.


3. Diet and Exercise weren't "all that and a bag of chips".
Multiple studies examined the effect of Vitamin D on falls. Other studies also taught a lot of exercise classes to subjects. One Vitamin D study showed a 27% reduction, but another didn't show any statistical improvement. The exercise based plans weren't very good either. Two different studies found them not statistically effective. One study on perturbation training, showed improvement, but the training used elaborate equipment due to the need to protect older subjects.  

4th thing I learned (bonus!). You can't trust people to self assess. 
I'm sure pretty much everyone knows this. But the studies prove that if you let people assess their own environment for hazards, they don't do a great job. One study that had a self assessment showed a 10% improvement while a similar study with an OT assessment showed 61%.

5th thing I learned: 30% of all falls occur at the toilet!
That's a lot of falls yet none of the studies mention toilet lifts.
Maybe next time?



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