The statistics are shocking. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three seniors over 65 will fall this year. The Medicare cost of each fall, as reported in the journal Physical Therapy will average between $9,000 and $13,500 per incident. A recent estimate by the Journal of Forensic Sciences predicts that by 2020 the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $54.9 billion.
Beyond the issues of pain, hospitalization, and physical rehabilitation, the incidence of falls in the community of older adults is rapidly becoming a prime topic in the field of senior care. For those that care for seniors in assisted living communities, the economic impact of a fall can be measured at the bottom line. Only 50% of hospitalized residents return to a community after a fall. What’s more, resident falls account for 35% of all assisted living litigation, at an average cost of $134,000 per claim.
Reducing the severity of falls
At Intel-GE Care Innovations™, we are committed to pursuing solutions that help monitor and mitigate the risks of falls among seniors. As part of that commitment, we partner with the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Centre, an international collaboration between researchers in academic, clinical, and industry settings. TRIL combines multidisciplinary aging research, clinical expertise, and technology development to discover and deliver solutions for independent living.
A key area of focus is falls prediction and prevention. TRIL is conducting research to identify the many factors that contribute to falls. Using that information, it strives to develop assessment tools that identify those risks. A primary interest is discovering how to prevent the pattern of frailty that leads to falls. A senior who falls is likely to restrict his or her activity, leading to an increase in frailty, which inevitably leads to another fall. With research from TRIL, we are working to provide solutions that can help break this vicious cycle.
For more information on TRIL, visit http://trilcentre.org.