Fatal falls among seniors more obvious with ICD-10 coding

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

May 23, 2012

ICD-10 coding has revealed a 42% increase in falls as a cause of death among seniors, according to a report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. The report concludes that the increase in the death rate is due to updated coding for death classification that encourages more detail about the cause of death, rather than because more seniors are suffering serious falls. The greatest increase in coding for falls came under the category "falls on the same level," which indicates that patients did not fall off furniture or down stairs.

Same-level falls occur frequently among the elderly and generally do not result in life-threatening injuries. However, same-level falls often lead to a broken or fractured hip, followed by complications from surgery or pneumonia. The findings should not only enforce the importance of accurate coding, but also prompt physicians to take greater precautions against falls among seniors, according to Susan Baker, author of the report.

Source: HealthLeaders Media