From Our 2009 Archives
47,000 Elderly Hurt in Walker, Cane Mishaps Each Year
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MONDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Each year, more than 47,000 elderly Americans are treated at hospital emergency departments for injuries from falls that involve walkers and canes, according to a federal government study released Monday.
That works out to average of 129 injuries a day.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers analyzed emergency department records from 2001 to 2006. They found that most of the falls involved walkers (87%), and people 65 and older were seven times more likely to be injured in a walker-related fall than in a cane-related fall.
Among the other findings:
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
"Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain their mobility. However, it's important to make sure people use these devices safely," study lead author Judy Stevens said in a news release. "Walkers are often used by frail and vulnerable older adults; people for whom falls, if they occur, can have very serious health consequences."
In order to prevent falls among people who use walkers or canes, professionals should spend more time with clients to fit walking aids. In addition, clients should be educated about the safe use of walkers and canes, the researchers said.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, June 29, 2009
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