Cost benefits of adapting homes to reduce falls by older people

It is widely acknowledged that falls and fall-related injuries result in major costs to health and care systems:

  • Around one in three people over 65 and one in two people over 80 fall at least once each year.
  • Falls account for around 40% of all ambulance call-outs to the homes of people over 65 and are a leading cause of older people‚Äôs use of hospital beds.
  • Each year there are around twice as many fractures resulting from falls as there are strokes in the over 65s.
  • Falls are a common precipitant for people moving into long-term care, or needing more help at home.

A Cochrane review looking at the effectiveness of various interventions in the prevention of falls among older people living in the community, concluded that home safety assessment and modification interventions were effective at reducing the rate and risk of falls.

Less research has been carried out to quantify the cost benefit to the NHS & Social Care of home adaptations for older people at risk of falls. Utilising the findings of a recent New Zealand study of falls reductions due to home modifications, alongside new data from Torbay about the costs arising from falls over 12 months, we can derive some indicative figures of potential savings.

Author: Sue Adams, Care & Repair England July 2015

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