A scoping review of fall hazards in the homes of older adults and development of a framework for assessment and intervention

Marian Keglovits, Lindy Clemson, Yi Ling Hu, An Nguyen, Anna J. Neff, Caren Mandelbaum, Margaret Hudson, Rebecca Williams, Tara Silianoff, Susan Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Comprehensive evaluation and intervention provided by occupational therapists is effective in reducing the presence of fall hazards in the homes of older adults. The purpose of this study was to document known environmental hazards and to update a previous content analysis. A secondary goal reviewed a framework for evaluation and practice. Methods: A comprehensive scoping review of published academic articles was performed from 1996 to 2019 to answer: What environmental hazards have been associated with falls in the homes of community-dwelling older adults? Data was extracted in a standardised critical appraisal worksheet and content analysis was conducted. A review of a conceptual framework for assessment and intervention was conducted by international experts (n = 6) in face-to-face interviews. Results: Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria for the scoping study. The studies reported 17 in-home environmental hazards: throw rugs/carpets, clutter, cords/wires, poorly placed light switches, items placed too low, items placed too high, no grab bars, toilet seats too low, uneven floor surfaces, slippery/wet surfaces, snowy/icy surfaces, backless/unsupportive shoes, unsteady stairs, inadequate lighting, inadequate heating/cooling, step stools without railings, and pets. Conclusion: A comprehensive list of specific fall hazards in and around the homes of older adults and a guiding framework offers occupational therapists an evidence-based foundation for fall prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • ageing
  • falls
  • home assessment/modification
  • occupational therapy research


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