Falls among community-dwelling older adults are common and dangerous, often leading to traumatic brain injury, cervical fractures, and spinal cord injury. Physical and physiologic changes with aging, preexisting diseases, and treatments result in increased morbidity and mortality for this population. Trauma critical care nurses can expect to see increasing numbers of older adults in intensive care units as the US population of those older than 65 years increases to 53 million by 2020. Older adults pose additional dilemmas in care. This article reviews falls, mechanism of injury, and nursing care issues of particular significance to this vulnerable population in the critical care setting.

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