BALTIMORE IS BETTING ON data mapping to curb the leading cause of fatal injuries among older adults.
The mere act of falling down leads to tens of thousands of deaths among adults 65 and over every year in the U.S., and even more hospitalizations. In Baltimore, where there are many older homes and row houses with steep staircases, falls leading to an emergency room visit occur more frequently than in the rest of Maryland on average, and the city’s recently launched fall-reduction strategy aims to utilize hospital data to quickly identify neighborhoods – and even exact locations – where falls are most frequent.
Officials then will target interventions to those hot spots – such as fixing lighting in homes or installing railings that make it easier to get up and move around – with the goal of reducing the rate of falls by 20 percent over the next decade.
“The issue of falls is actually something I don’t think I would have realized is such a big public health concern until we looked at data and the impact,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen says.