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How Many People Die From Falling Out Of Bed? Seniors And Falls

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The exact number of people and death rate due to a fall from their bed is not recorded, but there are statistics to show the number of injuries and deaths due to a fall. This could be falling out of a wheelchair, out of a chair, falling from a standing position, and yes, even a bed.

Although there are no definitive statistics on how many people die from falling out of bed, it is generally believed that the risk increases with age groups of 65 plus. Of course, the risk of injury also can increase depending on medical conditions too.

You expect your bed to be a safe place. But, falling out of bed can happen as freak accident that can happen to anyone. It’s not just a matter of rolling off the mattress, it’s also about tripping over something in the middle of the night or losing your balance while getting out of bed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are approximately 36 million older adults who fall each year and 32,000 of these individuals die as a result of their injuries from the fall. Most of these deaths are due to head injuries.

The vast majority of accidental deaths in bed occur among infants and elderly individuals with neurologic disorders. The main causes of death within these two groups are head injuries caused by falls from a bed and asphyxia caused by pressure to the neck when wedged against a bed rail.

National Library of Medicine

Head injuries are the most serious type of injury that can occur from a fall. When a person falls, they can hit their head on a hard surface. This can cause a skull fracture, which can lead to brain damage. Brain damage can be very serious, and it can even lead to death.

I worked for years as an Occupational Therapist with neurologically impaired older people and I worked with many individuals who’s lives were changed forever (if they lived at all) because of a head trauma as a result of a fall.

I remember Jeff who was involved in his community’s computer club and went dancing every Saturday night with his wife. He had a serious fall out of his bed one night and suffered a head injury as a result of hitting his head on the nightstand and then on the floor.

I spent 9 months working with Jeff teaching him how to feed himself again, amongst other things. He was never able to walk again, or speak intelligently or care for himself in any way. But yes, he did learn how to use a spoon and a fork to feed himself.

I remember Kyle who fell while trying to get up from his chair and also suffered a head injury after hitting his head on the coffee table and then the floor. He was only 66 years old but was never able to follow a train of thought for more than a minute. Although he could physically care for himself he was unable to understand what he needed to do first.

Hence, we often found Kyle in his room or the hospital hallway with his underwear over his pants which were on backwards. I spent a year with Kyle until he finally went home with a 24 hour professional caregiver.

I had my own experience of falling out of bed last year. I had a bad dream and next thing I knew I was on the floor. I was lucky that I didn’t injure myself but it was a scary experience nonetheless.

These stories and so many more are just some examples of how your life (or that of your senior loved one) can change in a minute due to an injury from a fall.

Falls are also a leading cause of hip fractures. Hip fractures can be very painful, and they can require surgery to fix. In some cases, people may never be able to walk again after a hip fracture.

Falls can also cause other injuries, such as broken bones, which can be very painful. For older adults, broken bones can take a long time to heal.

Our bodies heal more slowly with advanced age, and ageing is a risk factor for delayed fracture healing. The number of stem cells in our bone marrow declines as we age, which takes fractures longer to heal. Bone fracture healing requires adequate vascularization, which is the formation of blood vessels, of the tissue.

fracturehealing.ca

If you are elderly, it is important to take steps to prevent falls. Some things you can do to reduce your risk of falling include:

Despite taking these precautions, falls can still happen. If you or a loved one has suffered a fall, it is important to seek medical attention right away. falls can lead to serious injuries that require immediate treatment.

Americans over age 65 comprise 71 percent of consumer product-related deaths annually, despite making up only 16% of the population. Even in nonfatal situations, the most recent data show that products in the home can present significant injury risks, sending millions of adults over the age of 65 to the hospital each year. 

US Consumer Product Safety Commission

Falling Out Of Bed Statistics

To my knowledge there are no specific statistics in the United States about how many people throughout the country fall out of bed. But, the UK’s National Health Service Information System reports that there were 20,000 people injured between March 2010 and February 2011 because they fell out of their bed.

An injury certainly does not necessarily equate with death but for older adults, a fall can certainly lead to a serious injury or death.

Many of these deaths and injuries can be preventable with proper bed rails or other safety devices. Bed rails are designed to keep people from rolling out of bed and onto the floor, where they can sustain serious injuries.

But, not everyone is safe with bed rails. If a person suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or an illness such as Parkinson’s where they have no control over their body movements, they can easily get caught up in the bed rails and cause themselves harm.

If you have a family member who is at risk of falling out of bed, it is important to take precautions to prevent accidents. Bed rails are one of the most effective ways to keep people safe. There are many different types and styles of bed rails available, so you can find the perfect solution for your needs.

From January 2003 through September 2012, 155 deaths involving bed rails were reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In October 2012, the CPSC released a memorandum on reports of adult bed rail-related deaths, injuries and potential injuries the agency received, which can be read here. The report reveals that over a nine-year period, there were roughly 36,900 visits to hospital emergency wards resulting from bed rail-related injuries.

theconsumervoice.org

Here are some alternatives to bed rails that you can consider.

If you are concerned about someone in your life falling out of bed, talk to an Occupational Therapist or healthcare provider about the best way to keep them safe.

There are many different options available, and the right solution will depend on the individual’s needs. With the proper precautions and tools in place, you can help to prevent falls and keep your loved ones safe.

Can You Die Falling Out Of Bed?

It’s possible, although not very common, to die from falling out of bed. Most falls from beds are actually not fatal. But the risk level does increase with age. So, if you’re elderly or have any health conditions that could make a fall more dangerous, it’s important to be extra careful.

As I said, most falls getting out of bed or rolling off the bed, etc. are non-fatal falls. Of course, that does not mean that there is no injury or side effect resulting from the fall.

In Britain, about 20 people a year die from falling out of bed. Compare that with 8000 people who die from road accidents each year and the number seems very small. (Source mirror.co.uk)

If you’re concerned about falling out of bed, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk. For example, you can make sure your bed is low to the ground and that there’s nothing around it that you could trip over.

You can also avoid drinking alcohol before bed and make sure to take any medications as prescribed. If you have a sleep disorder or underlying medical condition, be sure to talk to your doctor about ways to manage it.

What Injuries Can You Get From Falling Out Of Bed?

Fall-related injuries that can occur when falling out of bed can lead to a variety of injuries, ranging from minor bruises and scrapes to more serious injuries such as concussions or broken bones. The severity of the injury will depend on how high off the ground you were when you fell, how you landed, and whether any furniture or other objects were in the way.

Falls from a height of less than six feet usually don’t result in serious injuries, but they can still be painful and disruptive. If you fell from a higher bed onto a hard surface, you’re more likely to experience more severe injuries. Concussions, broken bones, and spinal cord damage are all possible from falls from greater heights.

Injuries can also occur just from sliding off the edge of the bed and onto the floor. This is more likely to happen if you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft, or if you have weak muscles and poor balance.

I recommend to remove items that are around the bed that someone may injure themselves with. This includes things like…

  • nightstand
  • space heaters
  • dressers

If you have any reason to believe that you may have suffered serious injuries from a fall, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Even if you don’t think the injuries are serious, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get checked out by a doctor. Better safe than sorry!

What To Do If You Fall Out Of Bed?

If you’ve fallen out of bed, it would be extremely helpful to get some help to you as soon as possible. I would recommend either a medical alert device of some kind or a smart speaker like Alexa or Google Home that you can use to call for help.

The steps to take if you have fallen out of bed are…

1. Stay calm and assess the situation.

2. If you’re injured, call for help immediately.

3. If you’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded, stay down on the floor and call for help.

4. But if you are 100% sure that you’re not injured and you can safely get back into bed, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. Falling out of bed can be a jarring experience, but it’s usually not serious.

If you are caring for a senior loved one and found that they have fallen out of bed, follow these steps:

1. Try to remain calm. This can be difficult if your loved one is injured or in pain, but it’s important to stay calm so you can think clearly and make decisions.

2. If your loved one is injured, call for help immediately. If they’re not injured, gently help them back into bed. If they are unable to help you to get them up off the floor – do not attempt to do this yourself. Either get some help or if they are complaining of any pain – STOP – and wait for the paramedics to come.

3. Once they’re in bed, check for injuries. If they seem to be in pain, call their doctor or a nurse hotline for advice.

4. Check for signs of a head injury such as:

  • mild headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • feeling sleepy
  • fluid coming from the nose or ears
  • slurred speech
  • balance problems
  • difficulty following simple directions

5. Check for physical injury such as:

  • cuts (which can be dangerous if the person is on blood thinners)
  • bruises
  • sprains
  • fractures

6. If your loved one is not injured and does not need medical attention, try to help them to relax by talking calmly and reassuringly.

7. Make sure they are comfortable and have everything they need before you leave them to rest.

Why Do Adults Fall Out Of Bed At Night?

There are a number of reasons why adults fall out of bed at night. Some adults may be sleepwalking, while others may have a medical condition that causes them to experience seizures or blackouts. Additionally, some people may simply roll over in their sleep and fall off the bed.

Medical Conditions

There are a multitude of medical conditions and issues that could be the cause of the falls. Any of these could contribute to falling out of bed. Some of these are…

  • Vertigo
  • Hypotension
  • Certain medications
  • Balance issues due to stroke or other neurological issue
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Heart disease

There are a number of steps that adults can take to reduce their risk of falling out of bed, such as:

  • Installing bed rails on one or both sides of the bed.
  • Keeping the floor clear of clutter.
  • Wearing shoes with good traction.
  • Putting a non-slip mat on the floor beside the bed.
  • Using the proper height bed for the person.
  • Using a nightlight to help see in the dark.

Falling out of bed is not usually fatal, but it can lead to serious injuries. Adults should take precautions to prevent falls, such as keeping the floor clear of clutter and using a nightlight.

How Can I Stop Myself From Falling Out Of Bed?

Injury prevention is of course the number one priority when it comes to falls from beds. Falling out of bed is a serious problem that can lead to serious injury or even death. There are several things you can do to prevent yourself from falling out of bed, including:

1. Use a bed rail: These are consumer products that attach to the side of your bed and prevent you from falling out. But they are not for everyone so if you’re senior tends to thrash about or attempt to get out of bed and they have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a bed rail can turn into a dangerous product for them. Read more about bed rails here.

2. Sleep on a mattress that is firm and does not sag: A soft, sagging mattress can cause you to roll over in your sleep and fall out of bed.

3. Non-slip mats: Place these by your bed so that when you stand up on them the rug doesn’t slip away from you. Read more about non-slip mats here.

4. Wear appropriate clothing to bed: loose-fitting clothes are more likely to get tangled in the sheets and can cause you to fall out of bed.

5. Avoid drinking alcohol before bed: Alcohol can make you drowsy and increase your risk of falling

6. Hospital beds can be helpful: For older adults who tend to wander away from bed or have movement disorders that contribute to them falling off the mattress, etc.

7. Do not sleep on a waterbed: Waterbeds are unstable and can cause you to fall out of bed.

8. Make sure your bedroom is free of clutter: Clutter in your bedroom can cause you to trip and fall out of bed.

9. For CPAP users: If you use a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea, make sure the tubing is secure: The tubing from a CPAP machine can become tangled and cause you to fall out of bed.

If you are concerned about falling out of bed, talk to your doctor. They can help you identify any underlying medical conditions that may be causing your falls and create a plan to prevent future falls.

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