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Watch your step: Elevator-related injuries and older adults
Date:2/9/2010

losing elevator door. Elevator open buttons should be made twice the size of the other elevator buttons so they are not hard to find by passengers who want to stop the door from closing on an approaching individual. This would be very inexpensive to change because electronics don't have to be altered, just the button. Certainly all newly installed or updated elevators should have such buttons," said Greg Steele, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology in the Department of Public Health at the IU School of Medicine.

Misalignment, when the floor of the room and the floor of the elevator compartment are not perfectly even, is difficult for older adults with vision problems to see and a frequent cause of slips, trips and falls. Dr. Steele recommends that bright paint be applied to the edge of the room floor and the edge of elevator compartment to make it easier to observe, even when rushing into or out of an elevator. "The cost would be pennies but the saving astronomical. Slips, trips and falls often start a downward decline in an older individual's health and quality of life," said Dr. Steele.

"Older adults should be informed of the hazards associated with elevators and should use caution when entering or exiting an elevator. Elevators should be monitored to ensure that they are in good working condition to minimize hazards that could lead to elevator-related injuries," said co-author Joseph O'Neil, M.D., M.P.H, associate professor of pediatrics and a Riley Hospital for Children developmental pediatrician who studies preventable injuries.

He and Dr. Steele have previously published studies on elevator-related injuries in children. They have also studied escalator-related injuries in children and in older adults. They found the rate of elevator-related injuries among older adults to be similar to the rate of escalator-related injuries for this age group.

The bottom line, according to Dr. Steele and Dr. O'Neil, is that
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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