HealthStats NSW

  • + Key points: Falls

    • There were around 3,700 injury-related deaths in 2013 and 197,473 injury-related hospitalisations in 2013-14 in NSW.

    • Injury and poisoning is the leading cause of death among people aged 1 to 45 years.

    • Males have much higher rates of death and hospitalisation than females for all major injury causes, except for falls among older people.

    • Hospitalisation rates for injury and poisoning in Aboriginal people are 60% higher than in non-Aboriginal people in NSW.

    • Rates of death and hospitalisation from injury and poisoning are higher in remote areas than in metropolitan areas.

  • + Background: Falls

    Definition and classification systems

    Injury can be described by the single or multiple body regions which are affected by the injury, by the type of injury itself or by an agency which caused the injury.

    Examples of the injuries described by body regions are: injuries to the head, injuries to the hip and thigh or injuries involving multiple body regions.

    Types of injury are: superficial injury (such as abrasion, contusion, insect bite), open wound (animal bite, cut, laceration, puncture wound), fracture (closed or open, which refers to the surface of skin), dislocation, sprain or strain, injury to nerves and spinal cord, injury to blood vessels, injury to muscles, fascia and tendon, crushing injury, traumatic amputation, injury to internal organs.

    Examples of environmental events and circumstances causing injury, poisoning or other adverse events are: transport accidents, falls, exposure to electrical current, exposure to forces of nature, assaults, intentional self-harm, complications of medical and surgical care. This classification of injury and poisoning is the most important in prevention planning. These events are also known as 'external causes' of the injury.

    The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) covers all above categorisations of injury (NCCH 2006).

    Injury and poisoning burden of disease in Australia

    Injury has a major, but often preventable, influence on Australia’s health. It affects Australians of all ages and is the greatest cause of death in the first half of life. It leaves many with serious disability or long-term conditions. Injury is estimated to account for 6.5% of the burden of disease in 2010 (AIHW Cat. no. AUS 122 2010).

    For each person who dies of injuries there are several thousand individuals who survive and are left with permanent disabilities. Hospitalisation data provide an indication of the incidence of the more severe injuries.

    References

    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2010. Australia’s health series no. 12. Cat. no. AUS 122. Canberra: AIHW, 2010. Available at http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/aus/ah10/11374

    National Centre for Classification in Health. The International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM). Australian Coding Standards. Sydney: NCCH, 2006.

  • + Interventions: Falls

    Injury prevention involves the collaboration of governments, the private sector and communities in order to create safer environments and cultures.

    Effective injury prevention strategies have been developed for a wide range of potential causes of injury. For example, balance and strength training is effective in reducing falls in older people, fencing around private swimming pools has reduced childhood drownings, and seat-belt and drinking-driving legislation together with measures relating to vehicle and road design have greatly increased road safety.