Preliminary results of a novel hay-hole fall prevention initiative

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Hay-hole falls are a prevalent source of trauma among Anabaptists—particularly Anabaptist youth. We sought to decrease hay-hole falls in South Central Pennsylvania through the development and distribution of all-weather hay-hole covers to members of the at-risk Anabaptist community.

METHODS

Following the creation of a rural trauma prevention syndicate, hay-hole cover prototypes co-designed and endorsed by the Pennsylvania Amish Safety Committee were developed and distributed throughout South Central Pennsylvania. Preintervention and postintervention surveys were distributed to recipients to gain an understanding of the hay-hole fall problem in this population, to provide insight into the acceptance of the cover within the community, and to determine the efficacy of the cover in preventing falls.

RESULTS

A total of 231 hay-hole covers were distributed throughout eight rural trauma-prone counties in Pennsylvania. According to preintervention survey data, 52% of cover recipients reported at least one hay-hole fall on their property, with 46% reporting multiple falls (median fall rate, 1.00 [1.00–2.00] hay-hole falls per respondent). The median self-reported distance from hay-hole to ground floor was 10.0 (8.00–12.0) feet, and the median number of hay-holes present on-property was 3.00 (2.00–4.00) per respondent. Postintervention survey data found 98% compliance with hay-hole cover installation and no subsequent reported hay-hole falls.

CONCLUSION

With the support of the Pennsylvania Amish Safety Committee, we developed a well-received hay-hole cover which could effectively reduce fall trauma across other rural communities in the United States.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE

Epidemiological study, Level III.

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