• Open Access

Home safety assessment in the prevention of falls among older people

Authors


Senior Research Officer, Healthy Ageing Unit, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Queensland Medical School, Herston, Queensland 4006. Fax: (07) 3365 5442; e-mail: n.peel@spmed.uq.edu.au

Abstract

Objective:Home safety assessment was examined as part of a randomised trial of falls prevention interventions among older community dwellers.

Method:Falls prevention strategies, including education and awareness-raising, exercise, home modifications and medical assessment, were trialled with 252 members of the National Seniors Association. Falls outcomes were monitored using a daily calendar diary during intervention and follow-up periods.

Results:The home assessment group was significantly more likely to modify their home environment than the controls (p<0.0001). Participants, regardless of group allocation, reported a significant reduction in concern about falling (p<0.0001). During the intervention, the home assessment group had lower incidence rates for falls and injuries than the control group, although differences were not significant. The lowered rates were sustained post-intervention.

Conclusions:While the effect on falls incidence of a home safety intervention on its own could not be demonstrated, other benefits, including improved confidence attributable to awareness of such falls prevention measures, were recorded.

Implication:The null effects of home modifications on falls prevention in this study may indicate that the program is more appropriate for the frail aged.

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