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Falls Can Increase Postsurgical Complications in Seniors

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall accident prevention is a major safety issue impacting seniors. A new study indicates that seniors, who have suffered a fall accident in the 6 months before they undergo surgery, could be at a much higher risk for serious post surgery complications.

The study looked at more than 200 patients of an average age of 74, who had undergone heart and colorectal surgery. The researchers found that 58% of the patients, who had undergone colorectal surgery and suffered a fall accident in the 6 months before the surgery, suffered more than one complication. However, among the patients who did not suffer a fall just before the surgery, only 27% suffered complications. When the researchers analyzed the patients who had undergone heart surgery, they found similar findings.

Further, 59% of the patients who had suffered a fall suffered serious disabilities and required institutional care after the operation.

Among the patients who had not suffered a fall, the rate of institutional care was just 4.2%.

This study indicates to Los Angeles personal injury lawyers the importance of fall accident prevention strategies, especially before and after an elderly patient is scheduled for surgery. Slip and fall accidents are especially devastating when they involve a senior citizen, because these patients are at much higher risk of long term complications that affect their recovery. Senior citizens are much more likely to suffer from a condition called osteoporosis, which leads to brittle and dry bones that are more susceptible to a fracture. Fractures involving senior citizens take a much longer time to heal.

MIT Researchers Identify Top 10 Technologies Preventing Senior-Related Accidents

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Senior motorists, who face driving challenges as they get older, benefit from a wide array of auto safety technologies that are now available in almost every new car model. A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology set out trying to identify the top 10 most beneficial auto safety technologies for senior drivers to avoid injury and accidents.

Their list includes:

  1. Blind spot warning systems
  2. Lane departure warning systems
  3. Emergency response systems to be activated in case of medical emergencies and accidents
  4. Driver fatigue alert systems
  5. Vehicle stability control systems
  6. Parking assist systems
  7. Voice-activated technology that can help seniors access tech without using hands
  8. Crash detection systems that help identify and avoid collision hazards
  9. Reverse monitoring systems that help seniors detect objects located at the back of the car
  10. Adjustable headlights that can adjust intensity and range depending on traffic conditions

The list was compiled based on an analysis of seniors above the age of 50. The researchers focused on this age group, because they believed that some driving-related faculties begin to diminish by the time a person reaches the age of 50. A senior’s driving skills may be impacted by deteriorating vision, especially at nighttime, and failing hearing. A senior’s responses may become slower, and this can be a potential accident hazard.

Studies have indicated to Alabama personal injury lawyers that many seniors know they are at an increased risk of accidents, because of their age. One study released earlier this year found that seniors are capable of regulating their own driving, and are likely to give up certain driving privileges, like driving at night, when they find that their driving skills are diminishing. Seniors are also much more likely to invest in luxury automobiles that are more expensive, because these cars are more likely to contain auto technologies.

Fewer Accidents Occur When Doctors Report Motorists Unfit to Drive

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

When doctors report that a patient is unfit to drive, and give him a warning against driving, it leads to a decline in the patient’s accident risk. According to a study conducted at the University of Toronto, doctors who deliver such warnings could actually be helping reduce accident risks involving these patients.

Car accident lawyers find that certain types of drivers like senior drivers are much more likely to receive warnings about their fitness to drive, when they start suffering from conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia and aging-related conditions.

The researchers analyzed data from the Canadian province of Ontario, where doctors are required to report patient who are medically unfit to drive. In 2006, doctors were given an additional incentive to report patients, when they were offered approximately $36 per patient for giving an unfit-to-drive warning.

Not surprisingly, the number of patients who were reported unfit to drive, exploded after this. As many as 30% of patients were declared unfit to drive.

The researchers found that the accident-related injury risk for drivers, which was about 4.76 injuries per 1000 drivers before the warning was given, dropped to 2.23 injuries for every 1,000 drivers after the warning was given.

However, these warnings were not without their consequences. The doctors also found that their relationship with the patient suffered when they gave the unfit-to-drive warning. In many cases, the patient simply stopped seeing the doctor, choosing another doctor after receiving the warning.

Moreover, while the accident and injury risks dropped dramatically, they were nowhere near the injury levels in the general population. Additionally, patients were much more likely to suffer from depression after receiving the warning.

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