Staff shortages blamed for rise in falls-related deaths  

care home nurse

Care home staff shortages are among the reasons blamed for an increase in the number of elderly people dying following falls.

Analysis of Office for National Statistics data by The Guardian shows a 177% rise in deaths among men aged over 85 from falls between 2008 and 2016.

Dr Eileen Burns, president of the British Geriatrics Society, said: “I’m surprised and saddened to see this upward trend. No one wants to see their nearest and dearest die of a fall.”

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Doctors have warned that the rise in fatalities as a result of a fall is being driven by the ageing population, with the number of people over 85 up by 19% between 2008 and 2016.

Dr Burns highlighted the declining access to council-funded social services for the elderly as a cause for concern. The proportion of over 65s receiving council funded social care fell from 15% to 9% between 2010 and 2015.

She added: “Most of these falls are likely to be happening in people’s homes, because most older people are not in care homes. But care homes do have proportionately more of them because there’s a higher risk of them occurring there because their residents are more frail than the general population.”

Causes of death as a result of a fall range from a bleed on the brain, people developing pneumonia after lying undetected for a long period and complications as a result of a hip fracture.

Tags : DeathFalls PreventionResearch
Lee Peart

The author Lee Peart

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