The Safety Net

Facts About Falls and Fractures


Did you know that one of the highest numbers of Special Incidents reported to the Department of Developmental Services is Fractures?

These are very often the result of a fall. We all need to focus on reducing these numbers. Frequently, a fall is a very preventable situation. A fall may also result in head injury, spinal injury, wrist or hip fracture. A fall may be a life- changing event if there is not a full recovery.

Did you know that persons with developmental disabilities may have increased risk for falls and fractures?

Other diagnoses that may co-exist with developmental disabilities, may contribute to the risk for falls and fractures. Some examples are cerebral palsy, osteoporosis (which may be undiagnosed), seizure disorders, neurological disorders that result in decreased mobility and many other conditions. Some medications prescribed for consumers such as thyroid hormones and anticonvulsants may have side effects that contribute to an unsteady gait or lower alertness.

Did you know that aging in persons with developmental disabilities increases risks for falls and fractures?

Aging is a risk factor for falls for everyone but persons with developmental disabilities may be at increased risk for osteoporosis and resulting bone fracture if they have Prader-Willi or Kleinfelter’s syndrome. Persons with cerebral palsy may be at greater risk for motor function changes such as decreased ability to ambulate as they age. Musculosketal changes with aging may result in increasing dependence on aids such as walkers, canes and other adaptive equipment.

Do you know where falls are most likely to occur?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 60% of falls occur in the home, 30% in the community and 10% in nursing homes or other institutions. Most fractures are a result of a fall in the home generally when an individual is doing ordinary things like walking on stairs, going to the bathroom or working in the kitchen. They also estimate that there will be about 1000 hip fractures everyday! Look at the Service Provider section of this web site to find a handy checklist for the home.



Return To Article