Researchers seek face-saving interventions

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Facial injuries among skilled nursing residents may be flying under the radar while significantly boosting healthcare costs in the United States, according to recent research.

A team from Wayne State University in Michigan conducted the first-ever population-based study of facial trauma in nursing home settings to shed light on the “significant clinical issue.”

“Because [facial trauma] has been largely neglected in the literature, characterization of facial injury patterns among the elderly population, including the extent to which this affects our healthcare system, may be exceedingly invaluable,” the study's authors wrote.

Researchers examined data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and found that nearly 110,000 residents required emergency room care for facial trauma between 2011 and 2015. 

The most common facial injuries were lacerations and other soft-tissue injuries.

The study also showed that nearly 3,000 facial fractures occur among nursing home residents each year, with 22.7% occurring during bed transfers. That finding suggests an area for targeted interventions, the team said.