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Prevention of Falls in Older Patients - Article
ABSTRACT: Falls are one of the most common geriatric syndromes threatening the independence of older persons. Between 30 and 40 percent of community-dwelling adults older than 65 years fall each year, and the rates are higher for nursing home residents. Falls are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and nursing home placement. Most falls have multiple causes. Risk factors for falls include muscle weakness, a history of falls, use of four or more prescription medications, use of an assistive device, arthritis, depression, age older than 80 years, and impairments in gait, balance, cognition, vision, and activities of daily living. Physicians caring for older patients should ask about any falls that have occurred in the past year. Assessment should include evaluating the circumstances of the fall and a complete history and physical examination, looking for potential risk factors. The most effective fall prevention strategies are multifactorial interventions targeting identified risk factors, exercises for muscle strengthening combined with balance training, and withdrawal of psychotropic medication. Home hazard assessment and modification by a health professional also is helpful.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians often manage substance ingestions in children, most of which are nontoxic in nature. Physicians should know the phone number of the poison control center, understand the appropriate initial assessment of suspected toxin ingestion, and recognize important toxidromes. Rapid triage is crucial, including airway, respiration, and circulation stabilization. Appropriate supportive or toxin-specific treatment should be initiated. Gastric decontamination, such as activated charcoal and gastric lavage, are no longer routinely recommended. These methods should be reserved for the most severe cases, with poison control center support. The use of ipecac is no longer recommended. A child with few symptoms or a witnessed toxin exposure may be monitored at home. However, some long-acting medications have delayed toxin effects and require additional surveillance.
Preventing Burns in Older Patients - Editorials