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National poll: Low cost, lifesaving services missing from most older patients' health care
Date:5/1/2012

ork University's College of Nursing. "The Hartford Institute recognizes that addressing health needs and providing preventative healthcare is imperative in order for an older adult to age gracefully. Identifying functional decline and other health conditions before it begins or deteriorates, will assure that older adults are healthier and will need less intervention in the future."

"We feel this survey highlights why expert geriatric care is needed," said Christopher Langston, PhD, Program Director of the John A. Hartford Foundation, which commissioned the poll. "One of the central truths of geriatrics is that older adults are not just older 40 year olds, any more than children are just small 40 year olds. Older people need different care, and when they don't receive these kinds of evidence-based interventions, as many don't, the result is a lot of preventable disability and suffering."

Falls: One of the important and recommended services that large numbers of older adults are not receiving is counseling about falls prevention, and discussion of any history of falling. Falling is the leading cause of injury and injury-related death in older people and the cause of 90 percent of all hip fractures. A considerable body of evidence exists about risk factors and how, by controlling risks, older people can cut their risk of falling by about 30 percent.

Yet, even among people at elevated risk, the Hartford poll reveals a troubling lack of intervention on falls. For example, advanced age is a known risk factor for falling, yet 75 percent of adults 80 and older say their doctor has not talked to them in the past 12 months about how to avoid falling. Taking multiple medications is another known risk factor, yet 71 percent of people taking 5+ medications regularly say they were never counseled on avoiding falls. Even people receiving large amounts of care were likely not to receive this important intervention: among older adults who made 10 or mo
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Contact: Tara Cortes, PhD, RN, FAAN
Tara.Cortes@nyu.edu
212-992-9416
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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