NICE falls in older people guideline

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An easy-to-read summary of NICE's guideline on the assessment and prevention of falls in older people, including a discussion of possible interventions.

F alls are a major cause of disability and the leading cause of mortality resulting from injury in people aged 75 years and over in the UK. Furthermore, more than 400,000 older people in England attend accident and emergency departments following an accident, while up to 14,000 people die annually in the UK as a result of an osteoporotic hip fracture. Therefore, falling has an impact on quality of life, health, and healthcare costs.

Falls are not an inevitable result of ageing, but they do pose a serious concern to many older people and to the health system. Older people have a higher risk of accidental injury that results in hospitalisation or death than any other age group. 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates that one in three people aged 65 years and over experience a fall at least once a year—rising to one in two among 80 year-olds and older. Although most falls result in no serious injury, approximately 5 per cent of older people in community-dwelling settings who fall in a given year experience a fracture or require hospitalisation. 

This Guidelines for Nurses summary covers prevention, risk assessment, and multifactorial interventions.

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