oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - Falls prevention in the elderly : evidence-based pharmacy practice



Falls in the elderly are common and often the first sign of frailty and other medical conditions. Fall-induced injuries are said to be the fifth leading cause of death in elderly people, and one of the most common causes of long-standing pain and disability in this population. Potential causes of falls are varied and include a history of previous falls, the use of psychoactive medicine, cognitive or functional impairment, environmental hazards, balance and gait problems, loss of muscle strength, and impaired vision. The success of interventions is optimised by early identification of those at risk, before a serious fall occurs. Treatment is directed at the underlying cause of the fall. The role of the pharmacist in fall prevention is health education, to identify those patients at risk of falling and to assist them to minimise their risk and to develop a fall care plan.


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