Managing falls in older patients with cognitive impairment


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Abstract

With an aging population, both dementia and fall-related injury pose an international health challenge. Individuals with dementia fall twice as often as cognitively intact people and are more likely to have injurious falls. Higher morbidity and rates of mortality and institutionalization after falls have also been reported in this group. There is limited but emerging literature that is attempting to define and explain why fall risk is increased in this population. This will allow for targeted fall prevention programs. Currently, there are no published randomized controlled trials that have prevented falls in community-dwelling cognitively impaired older people, and conflicting evidence is reported in hospital and residential care trials. Recent exercise interventions have demonstrated significant benefits, such as improved gait speed, strength and balance in people with cognitive impairment/dementia, providing encouraging evidence for further research and clinical interventions.

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