Minor home modifications costing c. £300 per property reduced home fall injury rates by around a third, according to the findings of a new study [published in The Lancet.]

The three-year randomised control trial, carried out in New Zealand, involved installation of low-cost home modifications followed by tracking of falls injury rates amongst the intervention and control groups.

The main findings revealed a 31% reduction in home fall injury rates per year in the intervention group and a 40% reduction in falls injuries specific to the intervention (previous study values were 26% and 39% respectively). This is considered a highly cost-effective intervention for falls injury prevention as the average cost of the home modifications was approximately £300 per dwelling*.

The study was undertaken specifically involving Māori households as this group experience significant health inequalities. The study had similar aims to earlier research, also undertaken in New Zealand involving Māori households, but with a wider range of housing modifications. The geographical coverage of this recent study was more urban and involved amended sensitivity analysis.

*Home modifications included handrails for outside steps and internal stairs, grab rails for bathrooms, outside lighting, repairs to window catches, high-visibility and slip-resistant edging for outside steps, fixing of lifted edges of carpets and mats, non-slip bathmats, and slip-resistant surfacing for outside areas. 

STUDY DETAILS: Keall D et al (2021) Home modifications to prevent home fall injuries in houses with Māori occupants (MHIPI): a randomised controlled trial      DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00135-3 

[September 2021]