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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 124-130

How Fall-Safe is the Housing for the Elderly in Rural Areas? : A Cross Sectional Study using Fall Prevention Screening Checklist

1 Dean Medical Education & Professor Community Medicine, Believers Church Medical College & Hospital, Coimbatore, India
2 Assistant professor Community Medicine, Chennai Medical College Hospital & Research Centre, Coimbatore, India
3 Associate professor Community Medicine, PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, India

Correspondence Address:
Prabha Thangaraj
Assistant Professor, Community Medicine CMCH&RC, Trichy-21
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Certain risk factors present in the immediate housing environment may contribute to falls. Research shows one half to two thirds of falls occur in or around the house of elders. There is a need to keep the houses of elder's age friendly to prevent falls and enable them to do their daily routine comfortably. Objectives: To assess the proportion of elderly (≥60 years) houses that comply with housing standards to prevent falls using fall prevention screening checklist. Method: Observational checklist was prepared from recommended standards of home-safety for fall prevention and modified to screen the individual rooms in rural houses of elders. A total of 655 houses were screened for the study. Results: Common housing risk for fall identified were poor lighting of living room (95%) and bedroom (94%) and absence of light switch near the bed (63%) in the bedroom. 73% of bathroom was located outside the house with 41% having uneven /slippery surface. Only 68.2% had personal toilet of which 66% was present outside the home, 98% had no handrail and absence of western toilet in 62%. Area surrounding the house had stones, leaves and other obstacles in 44% of homes. Conclusion: Overall, using the fall-prevention screening checklist, almost all houses were found to be risky for fall with only very few houses being found to be fall-risk free. Further research has to be done to establish the validity of this tool or to recommend new standards for conditions peculiar to rural India that potentially appear to contribute to fall.

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