The Role of the US Trauma Centers in Older Adult Fall Prevention: A National Survey

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American Surgeon


Introduction: Approximately 27.5% of adults 65 and older fall each year, over 3 million are treated in an emergency department, and 32 000 die. The American College of Surgeons and its Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT) have urged trauma centers (TCs) to screen for fall risk, but information on the role of TC in this opportunity for prevention is largely unknown. Methods: A 29-item survey was developed by an ACSCOT Injury Prevention and Control Committee, Older Adult Falls workgroup, and emailed to 1000 trauma directors of the National Trauma Data Bank using Qualtrics. US TCs were surveyed regarding fall prevention, screening, intervention, and hospital discharge practices. Data collected and analyzed included respondent’s role, location, population density, state designation or American College of Surgeons (ACS) level, if teaching facility, and patient population. Results: Of the 266 (27%) respondents, 71% of TCs include fall prevention as part of their mission, but only 16% of TCs use fall risk screening tools. There was no significant difference between geographic location or ACS level. The number of prevention resources (F = 31.58, P < .0001) followed by the presence of a formal screening tool (F = 21.47, P < .0001) best predicted the presence of a fall prevention program. Conclusion: Older adult falls remain a major injury risk and injury prevention opportunity. The majority of TCs surveyed include prevention of older adult falls as part of their mission, but few incorporate the components of a fall prevention program. Development of best practices and requiring TCs to screen and offer interventions may prevent falls.


Elderly; Fall injuries; Fall prevention; Falls; Trauma

Controlled Subject

Trauma centers; United States; Falls (Accidents) in old age--Prevention; Surveying


Critical Care | Trauma

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