Knowledge and injury prevention practices in homes of older adults


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Abstract

This study aimed to describe the prevalence of preventive safety measures in homes with older, urban-dwelling adults; determine the relationship between sociodemographic variables and injury prevention measures; and describe older adults' knowledge of safety topics. Teams conducted interviews and home observations in 603 homes to confirm preventive safety measures. Households with older adults were rarely observed to have recommended smoke alarm (34%) or carbon monoxide coverage (22%). Water temperature was safe in 64% of homes. Among households headed by someone other than the older adult, odds of having a working smoke alarm on every floor were much lower than in older adult–headed households (95% confidence interval: 0.04-0.35). Few older adults interviewed about safety knowledge correctly answered several items related to fire and carbon monoxide. Effort is needed to improve knowledge and promote the lifesaving benefits of injury countermeasures so that older adults can be adequately protected.

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