Older Adult Falls in Emergency Medicine-A Sentinel Event

Clin Geriatr Med. 2018 Aug;34(3):355-367. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2018.04.002.


Standing-level falls represent the most frequent cause of trauma-related death in older adults and a common emergency department presentation. However, these patients rarely receive guideline-directed screening and interventions during or following an episode of care. Reducing injurious falls in an aging society begins with prehospital evaluations and continues through risk assessments and interventions that occur after emergency department care. Although obstacles to emergency department-initiated, evidence-based older adult fall reduction strategies include the absence of a compelling emergency medicine evidence basis, innovations underway include validation of screening instruments and incorporation of contemporary technology like smart phones to improve fall detection rates.

Keywords: Accidental fall; Emergency department; Emergency medical services; Geriatric; Implementation; Trauma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Management / methods*
  • Risk Assessment