Studies show that in 2014, approximately 2.8 million older adults sought treatment in emergency departments for falls; roughly 800,000 older adults who experienced a fall were hospitalized; and more than 27,000 older adults die as a result of a fall.
Based on evidence from 62 trials, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently shared several interventions for preventing falls in older adults who are 65 years or older, live at home and are at increased risk for falls. Interventions tried included:
- Vitamin D supplementation
- Environmental modifications
- Psychological interventions
Contrary to their 2012 recommendations, as a result of 2014 trials, the USPSTF found that vitamin D supplementation did not prove effective in preventing falls, and the National Academy of Medicine concluded that “there may be a potential U-shaped relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum levels and health outcomes, with serum levels greater than 125 nmol/L being associated with worse health outcomes,” wrote task members in the USPDSTF’s draft statement. Task members also concluded that vitamin D supplementation is considered more of a treatment method, rather than prevention, therefore excluding it from their recommendations.
Exercise and physical therapy were found to be effective in preventing falls by improving strength and balance. Multifactorial risk assessments with comprehensive management was also named as an effective intervention to prevent falls, due to the “many interrelated variables [that] affect the health status of older adults,” wrote task members.
The USPSTF draft statement is open for public comment through October 23, 2017. Click here to read the review and share your comment.