Association of Prior Falls with Adverse Outcomes After Neurosurgical Operations in the Elderly

As our population ages, there has been an increase in the number of elderly patients that undergo neurosurgical interventions. This increase is accompanied by aging risk factors, such as frailty, that increase the risk of complications post-surgery. A recent study undertook the task of surveying how recent falls affected patients who underwent a neurosurgical operation, focusing on a patient’s outcome relative to their fall history in the six months prior to their surgery.

The study’s overall findings were that patients with at least one fall six months prior to a neurosurgical procedure, had an increased risk of complications following their discharge. It specifically focused on the number of those discharged to a facility post-surgery, re-admittance rate, and the rate of complications. 18 % of those studied were discharged to a long term care facility after the operation, 17% were readmitted within thirty days, and 28% also had a complication arise within thirty days of their discharge date.

The results of this study give reasons to include fall history in preoperative risk assessments prior to any neurosurgery. While the frailty of an elderly patient is already considered in these assessments, it is important to include patients fall history since there reason to believe that these falls affect patients’ recovery. Neurosurgical procedures  As shown in the study there is a higher risk of complications that arise when a patient has suffered a fall.

Since fall history is a factor in the recovery of patients post neurosurgical interventions, it is even more important that caretakers take preventative measures against falls to ensure the safety of their patients. At nursing homes and assisted living facilities, fall prevention programs and policies must be put in place to decrease the risk of falls and injuries. By identifying eligible patients as fall risks and incorporating preventive measures, such as bed alarms or side rails, facilities create a space that prevents their residents from suffering further complications in the future.

While nursing homes are responsible for keeping their residents out of harm’s way, unfortunately, many do not take the necessary precautions to keep falls from occurring. Often, understaffing is an issue at facilities. It leaves nursing home and assisted living facility staff caring for more patients than they can give quality care to. Understaffing can lead to neglect which then places residents in dangerous situations. Such risks arise when residents are left unattended in their wheel chairs even when they are considered a fall risk, or similarly, when residents are placed in beds without proper fall preventative measures such as side rails, appropriate padding, or bed alarms.

Unfortunately, falls are a frequent occurrence at long term care facilities caring for our elderly. If you or a loved one have suffered a fall or any other type injury at a nursing home or assisted living facility, such as one in Culver City or Oakland, CA , call the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi. Our team of experts on nursing home litigation will fight to bring about the justice that is deserved. Call us today for a free consultation.