MIS: Causes of falls

(In case you’re wondering, MIS stands for Medicine in Society – the rotation I’m currently undertaking, specifically in Geriatric Medicine)

Alright, moving on!

I’m currently in the Fractured Neck of Femur (broken hip) Service. That means, all our patients are elderly AND have broken hips that need repairing.

We admitted a number of new patients this week and as usual, needed to ascertain how they fell. There are a number of factors that can attribute to a fall, either extrinsic or intrinsic factors.

Intrinsic factors are things that are wrong within the body. This includes: balance and gait problems, visual impairment, medications, cognitive problems (ie dementia), cardiovascular problems, etc. Extrinsic factors include anything in the surrounding environment that could cause a fall – stairs, footwear, floors surfaces, lack of mobility equipment, etc.

As you can probably tell, it’s really important to find out the cause of a patient’s fall, because if possible, we want to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Asking our 80+ year old patient:

“And how did you fall?”

“I got blown over by the wind! If you can believe that!”

Resident and I just could not keep a straight face! An elderly woman carrying a pot of spaghetti for her neighbour (who just got out of the hospital) suddenly gets shoved from behind by a gust of wind (easily around 90km/hr during this storm week) and ends up in the hospital – the poor thing! She is lovely though, and her recovery is going well, which is great!

Wind = extrinsic factor 😉

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