Falls in the Elderly Population: A Look at Incidence, Risks, Healthcare Costs, and Preventive Strategies


  • Dorothy I. Brown BSN, RN

    Commodore, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Dorothy Brown Commodore is a staff nurse on the rehabilitation unit at James A. Haley Veterans Administration Hospital in Tampa, FL, and a graduate nursing student at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

1500 Foggy Ridge Parkway, Lutz, FL 33549.


The number of elderly people in America is growing, and falls among the elderly population are a significant problem. Injuries and their complications can have serious consequences requiring medical attention, hospitalization, and nursing home admission. Seventy percent of the fall-related deaths in the United States occur among elderly people. Risks for falls are categorized as extrinsic factors involving the environment, intrinsic or host factors, those associated with nonbipedal falls, risks related to nonclassified falls, and agent, or iatrogenic, risk factors. Lawsuits related to falls and restraints are increasing. Fall prevention programs, assessment, evaluation, and lobbying for legislation to assist elderly people who fall are some of the responses made by the healthcare system. Rehabilitation nurses must be aware of the incidence and consequences of falls. It is imperative that nurses become involved in coordinating fall prevention and fall reduction programs, monitoring risks for falls, and implementing corrective measures.