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Environmental checklists

Falls involving environmental hazards occur in and around the home, and in public spaces. Hazards can include poor lighting, slippery or uneven surfaces, obstacles in walkways or poorly contrasted object or steps. There is growing evidence home hazard assessment and modification may help reduce falls when conducted by a trained health professional, where it is targeted to those with an increased risk of falling and where the issue of risk taking behaviour is also addressed. Adherence to recommendations is a key component when evaluating the effectiveness of home assessment and modification strategies.

Studies indicate adherence varies from between 30-80% and issues such as cost, availability, aesthetics and the perception of risk all impact on whether recommendations will be followed. Health professionals conducting home assessments need to be aware of adherence issues and ensure clients understand why a recommendation is made (establish relevance) and look for solutions that may meet the needs of the client. For example a mat can add an aesthetic look to the home the client may not wish to remove; therefore securing the mat may be a more acceptable option than total removal. Another example is that a client may be reluctant to have the usual metal banister rail (handrail) installed at the front of their home for safety and aesthetic reasons. An alternative may be installing a handrail that blends in with the features of the existing home (giving consideration to other issues, such as cost).

An example of a home environment checklist focusing on preventing falls has been included on this website, together with links to other resources relating to environmental hazards. These include home environmental checklists and information for distribution to seniors, environmental audit forms for use in residential aged care facilities, and local government information related to falls and injury prevention in public spaces.


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Last updated: 27 September, 2010
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