Geriatrics

Home Care Checklist

An environmental checklist can streamline your assessment and identify hazards in the home. Up to 85% of falls occur in the home, so prevention of falls is an important goal of the home assessment. Below is a checklist that can be used during home visits.

Printable Version

Home Safety Assessment Screening Tool

NEIGHBORHOOD

 Elements of high crime
 Poor street lighting
 Noise
 Inaccessible or inadequate services (transportation, shops, pharmacy, emergency response system)

OUTSIDE THE HOME

 Hazardous steps (in disrepair, need nonskid surfaces and/or bright paint)
 Hand rails missing
 Proper markings lacking to identify the home
 Inadequate lighting for entering at night
 Location of nearest neighbor

INSIDE THE HOME

 Inadequate internal lighting and windows
 Inadequate size of living space
 Dirty, cluttered floors
 Slippery floors (or scatter rugs, high-pile carpets)
 Loose electrical cords
 Furnishings with sharp corners
 Telephone is beyond easy reach
 Gas/electric utilities, heating and air conditioning, hot water heater
      (with accessible and legible controls)
 Stairs (lighting, rails, secure carpeting)

BEDROOM

 Bed was not slept in last night
 Head of bed needs to be elevated
 Bed too low (height should measure 18 inches from floor to mattress)
 Evidence of incontinence (need for a commode?)
 Light switches are inaccessible
 Presence of an unused walker
 Lighting, night lights

BATHROOM

 Needs raised, cushioned toilet seat?
 Needs double-rail assistive device for toilet?
 Needs non-slip floor surfaces, bath chair, grab bars and shower hose for tub?

KITCHEN

 Inadequate contents of refrigerator and cabinets
 Gas stove may be hazard for gas leaks
 Frequently used dishes and utensils are beyond easy reach
 Chairs with low backs, no arms, or with casters may tip
 Pedestal table may tip
 Food, water, or medications are beyond easy reach

GENERAL

 Smoke detectors? fire extinguishers?
 No communication system with central monitor
 Tell-tale odors (e.g. urine, alcohol)
 Lock missing on basement cellar doors
 Pets (cared for and fed, safe?)

Source: Prepared for GERIATRICS by Andrew M Scanameo, MD, and Howard Fillit, MD
Scanameo, A., Fillit, H. Housecalls: A Practical Guide to Seeing the Patient at Home. Geriatrics 1995; 50 (March): 33-39.

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