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Keywords:

  • community nursing;
  • occupational therapy;
  • falls

Community nurses are often the health professionals with whom older Australians living at home have most contact. The home environment has been identified to have a number of hazards associated with falls in older people. The Home-screen scale was specifically designed as a nurse-administered instrument to identify environmental and behavioral risks that alert nurses to the need for action to reduce fall risks in the home. A 14-item scale was administered to 1,165 older people receiving community nursing services. Psychometric investigation confirmed a 10-item scale with construct validity and internal consistency (α= 0.86, n= 989), explaining 60% of the construct of home safety (safe home environment and safe home behaviors). In addition, differences in mean scores were found in clients able and unable to transfer independently (t= 4.5 [df= 323.1]p < 0.001 [Group 1: M= 82.14, SD= 15.56; Group 2: M= 75.54, SD= 20.83, n= 989]). Similarly, an association existed between clients with low scores on the Home-screen scale and the perceived need for home modification. A score of 74 on this scale has been identified as a critical point for potential client injury. The use of this scale, both as an initial screening instrument and as a monitoring tool for community nurses working with older people, is recommended.