Fall-sustained head trauma doubles seniors' risk of emergency room visits

Minor head trauma sustained from a fall places older adults at a higher risk of returning to the emergency room than any other fall-related injury, according to a study published last week.

The results of the study, conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University, found that more than one-third of seniors who sustained minor head trauma due to a fall will need to return to the emergency department within 90 days after they are discharged from the hospital. The odds of requiring a return visit to the emergency department were more than two times higher for seniors with head trauma compared to those without, results showed.

Seniors who fall and have head trauma should receive close attention from their healthcare providers, researchers recommended, as it can cause cognitive and memory issues, balance problems, seizures and vomiting.

“An emergency department visit for a fall should be seen as an opportunity to address unmet patient care needs,” said lead researcher Lauren Southerland, M.D.

Results of the study appear online in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.