With greater awareness about brain injury, more attention is being focused not only on diagnosis of concussion among young adults but also on assessing brain injuries in geriatric patients. A new device to detect concussion more easily using a blood test is in development and could offer a quick and low cost method to diagnose and treat brain injuries.
Falls are a leading cause of injury among elderly adults but seniors don’t always report falls for fear of losing their independence. With elderly adults who have dementia or are unable to communicate, it can be difficult to get an accurate picture of what happened when a fall is suspected. Researchers at the University of Calgary have engineered a tool that can detect a concussion within two hours of the suspected injury allowing for faster and better treatment; it may be on the market within one year.
According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elderly people are suffering concussions and other brain injuries from falls at rapidly rising rates. Among American seniors over the age of 75, 1 in every 45 suffered a brain injury that resulted in an emergency room visit, hospitalization or death in 2013.
Falls among the elderly are common as a result of deteriorating vision, poor balance and strength problems. And one fall can often lead to more. According to research out of Ohio State University, a third of seniors who suffer minor head injuries return to the ER within 90 days. The study calls for emergency departments to view a fall as a signal that geriatric patients may have unmet health care needs and may require more home health services. Falls also frequently occur in nursing homes where interventions such as the use of hip or head protectors, exercise programs, medication assessment and assistive device optimization have been found to help prevent injuries from falls.
Learn more about fall prevention for seniors with The Oldish Home Safety Checklist, found under the Toolkit tab on our home page.