Nursing Home Residents Who Fall More Likely To Have Brain Injuries

A recent study found that more than one third of falls in nursing homes result in residents hitting their heads. Using  video footage of 227 falls suffered by 133 seniors in a long-term care facility, the researchers discovered head strikes in 37% of the falls. In 63% of those falls, residents hit their heads on the floor, usually striking hard flooring, such as tile or linoleum. Sixteen percent struck their head on furniture and 13 percent hit their head on a wall.

The study author found it alarming that head impact occurred in that many falls. He explained that younger people rarely strike their head when they fall.

"Although we cannot identify why hand impact was generally ineffective in halting downward movement and preventing head impact, likely causes include ineffective arm placement; non-optimal muscle tone or muscle activation at impact; and insufficient strength in upper-limb, neck and trunk muscles, which is amenable to improvement through resistance training," the researchers wrote.

The study suggests better post-fall detection of possible brain injuries. It also suggests creating a safer flooring environment, such as adding a flooring sub-layer that is soft enough to cushion the impact but not so soft that it impairs balance. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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