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Falls Remain Most Common Traumatic Injury Seen in Summa Akron City Hospital’s Emergency Department

Date: 09.20.2011
Contact: Julie Uehara Sur Phone: (330) 375-7117

Contact: Julie Uehara Sur, Phone: (330) 375-7117, Email:               

AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 20, 2011– The first day of autumn, Sept. 23, marks National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The importance of falls prevention cannot be underestimated with falls being the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries to older adults in the U.S.

Last year at Summa Akron City Hospital, both minor and major falls accounted for 40 percent of all trauma injuries seen in the Emergency Department. In patients 65 years and older, falls accounted for 75 percent of the hospital’s trauma injuries. On a national level, one in three Americans aged 65 years and older falls every year, according to the National Council on Aging website — and that risk rises with age.

“Although falls are most common among older adults, it is the single top traumatic injury for all age groups that we see in the Emergency Department,” said Sharon Wiita, RN, BSN, CEN, trauma education and injury prevention coordinator for Trauma Services at Summa Akron City Hospital. “Anyone can take a dangerous fall so we should all be aware of the dangers but with seniors in particular, falls often result in fractures of the hip, legs, arms or spine. Breaking a bone is serious at any age, but it’s even more of a concern for an older adult.”

Added Maryjo Cleveland, MD, interim program director of Summa Health System’s Post Acute and Senior Services: “It is important to know that falls are not just a normal part of aging and risk factors can be modified to reduce the possibility of falls and fractures. By making changes to our home environment, understanding our personal medical conditions and the side effects of medications we’re taking, and staying active and strong, we can create a much safer environment.”

For example, Dr. Cleveland recommends the following steps to make a safer home:

  • Make sure rooms have good lighting and keep the lights on
  • Move electrical cords out of the way
  • Use nonskid rugs
  • Put handrails in the bathroom
  • Provide a shower chair and hand-held shower attachment
  • Make items easy to reach
  • Ensure there’s at least one handrail on each staircase

Summa’s Senior Services also offers a Fall Prevention and Balance Program in conjunction with Summa’s outpatient rehabilitation services. It includes a physical therapy assessment and custom treatment to meet the needs of the individual with a focus on exercise to improve balance and stability with walking. For more information on the program, call (330) 375-4100.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at