Unintentional Fall Injuries Associated With Walkers and Canes in Older Adults Treated in U.S. Emergency DepartmentsBy Stevens, Judy A.; Thomas, Karen; Teh, Leesia; Greenspan, Arlene I.; Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 57, No. 7
Publication Date: July 2009
Study undertaken to characterize nonfatal, unintentional, fall-related injuries associated with walkers and canes in older adults. The study analyzed data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP), a program operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission which compiles data from a nationally representative probability sample of 66 U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs). Included in the study were data of people aged 65 and older treated in EDs for 3,932 nonfatal unintentional fall injuries involving a cane or walker during the period of January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2006. Results showed an estimated 47,312 older adult fall injuries associated with walking aids being treated annually in U.S. EDs; 87.3 percent with walkers, 12.3 percent with canes, and 0.4 percent with both. Women’s injury rates exceeded those of men at rate ratios of 2.6 for walkers and 1.4 for canes. The most prevalent injuries were fractures and contusions or abrasions. Approximately one-third of the patients studied were hospitalized for their injuries. The results suggest that more research is needed to improve the design of walking aids. The authors also conclude that more information is needed about the circumstances preceding falls in order to better understand the contributing fall risk factors and to develop effective fall prevention strategies.
Published by: Blackwell Publishing, Incorporated (Website: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com)
Link to text: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122465099/abstract