A National Ageing Research Institute senior researcher says there is not enough research done in residential aged care to truly understand falls, their causes and to evaluate a range of interventions.

While work progresses on reducing the rate of falls in older people living in the community – from one in three people aged 65 years and over – up to three times as many residents, about half of all in aged care settings, experience falls every year.

Given aged care residents are older, more likely to have cognitive impairment and are frailer than those living in the community, a higher number of falls might be expected.

The extent of injury with falls in aged care is higher and the greatest concern is for those who fall frequently.

With consequences of falls including increased anxiety and fear of falling again, increased functional decline, decreased independence, fractures and death, well-funded, targeted research is needed to develop education programs for staff and residents.

Conversation starter

Have you or a loved one experienced – or have you witnessed – a fall or other harm or abuse in an aged care facility? What was the consequence of this? What had been done to prevent that happening beforehand? What was done afterward to prevent it happening again?

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