Letters to the Editor

Preventing Falls in the Elderly



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Am Fam Physician. 1998 Apr 1;57(7):1497-1498.

to the editor: I am a family physician in West Point, Neb., a town of 4,000. Four other physicians and I cover the emergency department at night. I have often wondered how to prevent falls in the elderly, as we see a number of elderly patients come in during the night with injuries. After getting up during the night for whatever reason, these elderly patients have tripped and fallen because they had become disoriented.

I have an idea which may have some merit for individuals who are in a nursing home or assisted care environment. Installing motion detector lights inside the apartment would enable an individual who has risen from bed during the night to see, and would decrease his or her chances of becoming disoriented. For certain individuals, this would work very well. For others, it could possibly provide too much stimulus and add to insomnia. Certainly, for those individuals at risk of falling, the trade-off may be acceptable.

Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.

Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.


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