Recently the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) has joined over 30 other organizations in a letter to Congressional leadership requesting funds for falls prevention in future coronavirus relief packages. Specifically, the letter calls for $10 million to be directed towards the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to implement falls prevention programs, and $4 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent older adult falls.
In the COVID-19 pandemic era it is quite likely that falls are occurring and going unreported as seniors may be fearful of seeking care or assistance in attempt to maintain as limited human interactions as possible to avoid risk of infection. The ACL’s community-based interventions are transitioning to more digital environments to help ease with implementation in the home. Similarly, the CDC provides tools to clinicians and other health care professionals to identify falls risks, and offer education via telemedicine.
As supporting evidence for the funding the letter cites several data points. “Older adult falls are common, costly, and often preventable. They represent the leading cause of injury-related death among adults age 65 years of age and older. More than one in four adults over age 65 fall each year, yet only half share this with their doctors. In 2018, over 35.6 million falls were reported, and of those, 8.4 million resulted in an injury that limited regular activities for at least a day or resulted in a medical visit. Sadly, an older adult dies from a fall every 19 minutes.”