Incorporating injury prevention into energy weatherization programs

TitleIncorporating injury prevention into energy weatherization programs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsTohn, E, Wilson, J, Van Oss, T, Gurecka, M
JournalJournal of public health management and practice
KeywordsEnergy efficiency; healthy homes; injury prevention; weatherization

Clients receiving weatherization/energy services with an added injury prevention home assessment with modifications/repairs experienced a decline in falls and thus fall-related costs. Interventions in 35 homes were associated with significant reductions in falls from baseline to 6 months postintervention (from 94% to 9%; P < .001) and falls with calls for assistance (from 23% to 3%; P < .02). The decline in falls with calls for assistance in the intervention group was significant when adjusted for a comparison group effect (P = .07). At a median cost of $2058 per home, the addition of an injury prevention component led by an occupational therapist offers the potential to avoid expensive fall-related medical costs (lift assistance, hospital transport and admission, long-term care). Integration of injury prevention into weatherization work, which targets lower-income seniors with high energy use, offers potential to reduce costly hospitalizations and poor health outcomes.