Modification of the home environment for the reduction of injuries

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Lyons, Ronan Anthony ; John, Ann ; Brophy, Sinead ; Jones, Sarah J. ; Johansen, Anthony ; Kemp, Alison Mary ; Lannon, Simon Charles ; Patterson, Joanne Louise ; Rolfe, Ben ; Sander, Lesley V. ; Weightman, Alison (2006)

BACKGROUND: Injury in the home is extremely common, accounting for around a third of all injuries. The majority of injuries of children under five and people aged 75 and over, occur at home. Multifactorial injury prevention interventions have been shown to reduce injuries in the home. However, few studies have focused specifically on the impact of physical adaptations to the home environment and the effectiveness of such interventions needs to be ascertained. OBJECTIVES: To review the evidence for the effect on injuries of modification of the home environment with a primary focus on interventions to reduce physical hazards. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, National Research Register and other specialised databases. We also scanned conference proceedings and reference lists. In addition, we contacted experts and trialists in the field. The searches were not restricted by language or publication status. The searches were last updated in December 2004. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: All abstracts were screened by two authors for relevance, outcome and design. Two authors independently assessed methodological quality and extracted data from each eligible study. MAIN RESULTS: We found 18 published and one unpublished trials. Trials were not sufficiently similar to allow pooling of data by statistical analyses, so this review takes a narrative form. Studies were divided into three groups based on the primary population sample; children (five studies), older people (14 studies) and the general population/mixed age group (no studies). None of the studies focusing on children demonstrated a reduction in injuries that might have been due to environmental adaptation in the home; one study reported a reduction in injuries and in hazards but the two could not be linked. Of the 14 included studies in older people, none demonstrated a reduction in injuries due to hazard reduction, although two demonstrated a reduction in falls that could be due to hazard reduction. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to determine the effects of interventions to modify environmental home hazards. Further interventions to reduce hazards in the home should be evaluated by adequately designed randomised controlled trials measuring injury outcomes. Recruitment of large study samples to measure effect must be a major consideration for future trials.
  • References (6)

    We searched the following electronic databases: • ASSIA (1987 to December 2009) • British Nursing Index (BNI) (1985 to December 2009) • CINAHL (1994-December 2009) • Cochrane Library (1996-December 2009) • EMBASE (1947 to 2009 Week 50) • ICONDA (1976 to December 2009) • MEDLINE (1966 to November Week 3 2009) • MEDLINE In-Process (1996 to November Week 3 2009) • OpenSIGLE (1980 to 2005)

    Index (1970 to December 2009) ◦ Conference Proceedings Citation Index (1990 to

    December 2009)

    In Gitlin 2006's study, the effect of their intervention on environ-

    mental home hazards at 12 months was reported as a difference of

    adjusted means of -1.38, 95% CI -3.17 to 0.41, P = 0.13, which

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