Seniors with disabilities less likely to recover from fall injuries: study

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Seniors who have a hip fracture or another serious fall injury are significantly more likely to recover if they had little or no disabilities before the accident, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine assessed more than 100 seniors who had fallen within the past year. They found that a year after the incident, those with no disability had a 45% probability of a rapid recovery and a 38% probability of gradual recovery. Conversely, those with a progressive disability before the fall had a 70% chance of no recovery, and those with a severe disability had a 100% chance of no recovery.

Thirteen activities were used to classify disability levels. They included: bathing, dressing, walking inside the house, transferring from a chair; shopping, housework, meal preparation, taking medications, managing finances; mobility; climbing a flight of stairs; lifting or carrying 10 pounds; driving.

Needing assistance with at least 10 of the 13 activities signified severe disability.

Full results can be seen in JAMA Internal Medicine.