- + Key points: Falls
• There were around 3,000 injury-related deaths in 2017 and 188,103 injury-related hospitalisations in 2018-19 in NSW.
• Injury and poisoning is the leading cause of death among people aged 5 to 44 years.
• Males have much higher rates of death and hospitalisation than females for all major injury causes, except for falls among older people.
• The rate of hospitalisation for injury and poisoning in Aboriginal people was 1.7 times that of non-Aboriginal people in NSW in 2018-19.
• Rates of death and hospitalisation from injury and poisoning are higher in remote and regional 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.
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 was estimated to account for 8.5% of the burden of disease in 2015.
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.
- + 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.
- + For more information: Falls
Useful websites include:
New South Wales Injury Risk Management Research Centre at http://www.irmrc.unsw.edu.au
Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au
WorkCover NSW at http: www.workcover.nsw.gov.au
Youthsafe at http://www.youthsafe.org
Kidsafe NSW at http://www.kidsafensw.org
Sportsafe at http://www.sma.org.au
Water Safety at http://www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au/
NSW Falls Prevention Network at http://fallsnetwork.neura.edu.au/
healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au
NSW Falls Prevention Program: NSW Clinical Excellence Commission: http://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/patient-safety-programs/adult-patient-safety/falls-prevention