Older adults who have just been discharged from the hospital need a safe environment for recovery, and a home safety assessment ensures that the home is a risk-free and healthy place for healing.
The primary purpose of a home care home safety assessment is to prevent falls. According to the Home Safety Council, 20 to 30 percent of older adults who fall injure themselves seriously enough to require medical attention, increasing medical costs and the likelihood that the older adult will be admitted to a hospital or nursing home.
A home safety assessment identifies risks in different areas of the home such as the stairs, bathrooms and hallways. One sample safety checklist from the University of Nebraska Medical Center mentions specific fall-preventing features such as handrails that extend beyond the stairs, adequate lighting and rugs that are fastened to the floor.
Some private insurers pay for presurgical home safety assessments, but Medicare does not. In fact, the Office of the Inspector General issued an opinion saying home care agencies may be influencing potential customers by providing free home safety assessments before medical procedures. Older adults should select an agency based on quality, not on the basis of any free service provided to them.
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