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Fall Accidents Lead to Post-Surgery Complications for Seniors

Posted in Blog on May 25, 2013

According to a new study, a senior citizen who has suffered a fall accident approximately 6 months before he undergoes a surgery is much more likely to suffer from complications after the surgery.  Such senior citizens are also much more likely to require extended hospital stays and suffer disabilities after their surgery.

Approximately 208 patients were included in the study.  The average age of the patient was 74 years old, and these patients had undergone colorectal or heart surgery at Veterans Affairs Medical Center facilities.  Out of the patients, 34% had suffered at least one slip and fall accident in the 6 months before the surgery.

The researchers found that among the patients who had undergone a colorectal surgery, 58% of those that had suffered a fall accident in the 6 months before the surgery suffered more than one complication.  In comparison, among the persons who had not suffered a fall accident, the rate of complications was just 27%.  These complications included heart and lung problems, kidney issues, and hospital-acquired infections.  In some cases, the patients required more surgery.

Similar complication rates were found in those patients who underwent heart surgery too.

Additionally, patients who suffered a fall accident 6 months before their surgery had a hospital stay that was 3 times higher.  Moreover, falls before the surgery seem to indicate a much higher rate of disability.  Approximately 59% of the patients, who suffered a fall before the surgery, required institutional care, after the operation.  Among the patients who had not suffered a fall, only 4.2% required institutional care.

The study seems to underscore the role of fall prevention strategies in helping reduce long-term health issues among seniors.  This category of persons is at the highest danger of fall accidents, besides having a much higher rate of complications and long-term health effects from falls.