A new Monash Injury Research Institute study has found home injuries surged nearly 40 per cent between 2003 and 2012 when more than 30,000 people were hospitalised at a cost of $227 million.
In comparison, road injuries increased 19 per cent over the same period to 2012 when about 11,000 people were hospitalised at a cost of $93 million.
The rapid increase in home injuries has been largely driven by falls, which became a leading cause of injury death between 2009 and 2011, particularly for people aged over 80.
Of 2150 injury deaths a year over the three-year period, 618 or 29 per cent were due to falls compared with 25 per cent as a result of suicide and 16 per cent due to transport accidents. Most of the people dying from falls were women aged over 85 and most fatal falls occurred on flat surfaces rather than stairs.
However, the research also found home injuries among people aged 45 to 64 had increased from about 3900 in 2003 to about 5500 in 2012, possibly because of more do-it-yourself home renovations.
Co-author Dr Lesley Day said although her team could not prove this was the case, they suspected more home maintenance inspired by TV programs such as The Block could be behind home injuries in middle-aged people.
Dr Day said while many agencies such as Kidsafe and the TAC had focused on preventing injuries among children and on the roads, there was now a great need for a plan to improve home safety.
''We don't really have anybody taking a lead on co-ordinating the different aspects of activities that can prevent injuries in homes,'' she said.
Dr Day said falls had become a major issue in Victoria, particularly for elderly people who could benefit from preventive measures, such as occupational therapy sessions at their homes and exercise programs that focus on balance. ''In order to get those things into place, you're relying on older people to be willing to take up exercise programs and for those programs to be available, accessible and affordable.''
While governments have invested resources into preventing falls and encouraging older people to exercise, Dr Day said more needed to be done.
''I think the need is outstripping the available resources, there is no question about that,'' she said.