FAQ: When Should I Call 911 After a Fall?

A fellow caregiver asked...

When should I call 911 after a fall?

Expert Answer

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is the author of a popular blog and podcast at BetterHealthWhileAging.net. She is also a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics.

In general, you should call 911 after a fall if the person is:

  • Unconscious or is having difficulty regaining consciousness

  • Showing signs of an obvious fracture

  • In a lot of pain

  • Showing signs of an acute medical problem that could have caused the fall, including chest pain, shortness of breath, extreme weakness, or signs of stroke

In the absence of the above alarm symptoms, you'll still want to watch the person carefully after a fall, ideally for a few hours at least.