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Home injury risks in homes of urban dwelling seniors and disabled persons
  1. W C Shields*,
  2. R L Stepnitz,
  3. E M McDonald,
  4. A C Gielen
  1. Correspondence Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, 624 North Broadway Baltimore MD 21205, USA


Purpose Seniors and disabled persons suffer disproportionate risks from fires, scalds and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning compared to the general population. Little has been done to evaluate the presence of injury counter measures in the homes of these groups. This presentation shares observed behaviours and residents safety knowledge from household surveys conducted in an urban area prior to the implementation of a community intervention trial.

Methods Households were randomly selected from twelve census tracks. A letter mailed to the home preceded an interview team who consented participants, conducted a survey including observations to confirm the presence of CO and smoke alarms and tested the hot water temperature.

Results 609 households completed the survey and observation. 196 households were occupied by an individual age 60 or older and/or a person with a physical disability. The typical respondent in this sample is a black (61%) female (71%) with a high school diploma or less (52%) and a per capita income of less than $25 000 (77%). Households with seniors or disabled persons were rarely observed to have recommended smoke alarm coverage (36%) or a working CO alarm (26%). Safe hot water temperature was present in 61% of homes. In bivariate analyses, no differences were found between homes with and without seniors or disabled persons or by income level. Additional results describing residents knowledge about safety behaviours will be presented.

Conclusions Effort is needed to promote the life-saving benefits of injury counter measures so that seniors and disabled persons can be adequately protected.

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