Blog: Ageing population and hospital falls

1st August 2019

Written by Sinead Connolly, Medical Negligence Solicitor

People are living longer.

Since the 1980s, life expectancy has increased by two months a year every year.

Consequently, the UK average life expectancy is 82 for women and 79 for men.

Why? Better healthcare and developments in medicine and science mean that we are living longer.

This does mean, however, that there is a greater need to care for our loved ones in their older years.

Pressure is mounting on our healthcare system to treat and manage illnesses as we grow older. 

For example, In November 2018, reports from the Office for National Statistics show around 18.2% of the UK population were aged 65 and over.

In contrast, in 2007 this was 15.9%.

Can the NHS cope with an ageing population?

The care received sometimes falls below what is expected and what is reasonable.

The NHS is struggling to cope with record demand and an ever-ageing population.

Whilst there are many wonderful stories within the NHS about staff going above and beyond, sadly there are occasions where mistakes happen.

Moreover, the care sometimes falls below what is acceptable and what is reasonable.

At Fletchers, we have experience securing compensation for individuals who have suffered avoidable falls in hospital and in a nursing home.

Sadly, these falls are a common and distressing complication of hospital care.

They can cause serious injuries and lead to a reduction in mobility and avoidable surgery.

Furthermore, some falls result in a need for additional care, and in some very serious cases, death.

AGE UK believe the number of people over the age of 65 dying as a result of a fall is rising.

In 2010, 3003 people over 65 died as a result of a fall.

In 2017, this went up to 5048.

Who can I turn to if I’ve had a fall?

Are our elderly at risk?

If you experience a fall, you are within your rights to know if the subsequent injuries and costs were preventable.

In June 2013 NICE published Clinical guidance entitled; Falls in Older people; assessing risk and prevention.

The guidance highlights the increased risk of falling which over 65’s face when admitted to hospital.

Firstly, if there is a serious risk of a fall, checks and balances should be in place to minimise against such risks occurring.

Unfortunately, on some occasions, risk assessments are not always correct, or done at all.

Ultimately, can our longstanding health service effectively manage risks while the demand on resources is so high?

If you or a loved one have experienced a fall in hospital or whilst in the care of a nursing home, our medical negligence team can determine if you have a case.

Contact us today on 0330 013 0252.

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