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Incorporating Injury Prevention Into Energy Weatherization Programs

Tohn, Ellen MCP; Wilson, Jonathan MPP; Van Oss, Tracy DHSc, MPH, OTR/L; Gurecka, Michael BA

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: June 04, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000947
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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.

Tohn Environmental Strategies, Wayland, Massachusetts (Ms Tohn); Brown School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island (Ms Tohn); National Center for Healthy Housing, Columbia, Maryland (Mr Wilson); Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut (Dr Van Oss); and New Opportunities Inc, Waterbury, Connecticut (Mr Gurecka)

Correspondence: Ellen Tohn, MCP, Tohn Environmental Strategies, 5 Fields Ln, Wayland, MA 01778 (etohn@tohnenvironmental.com).

Funding for this work was provided by Connecticut Department of Social Services and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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