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Elderly Falls May Indicate Bigger Problem

Elderly Man With Cane
(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Falls in the elderly are a major problem in health care. Of course the biggest help may be preventing falls in the first place.

When a senior citizen falls, there is a common flow in care: before they know it, they’re undergoing dozens of tests.

But there is a good side to all of this – a growing trend for emergency room physicians to try and involve primary care doctors and get their input regarding treatment.

Continuity of care is critical. One of the key issues is dealing with chronic pain.

Studies have shown that people who have multi-site pain are particularly at risk and they have a 50% likelihood of falling over a period of time.

ER doctors realize that. It isn’t just the fact that a person comes in for a brief visit. They’re actually being evaluated long-term, and that long-term evaluation can be critical, and it can play a critical role in someone’s overall health.