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Unintentional Injuries in Renfrew County and District

Community Health Status Report Issue #16, 2009 Executive Summary

Injury is defined as unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting from a transfer of energy. Unintentional Injuries in Renfrew County and District  focuses on unintentional injuries.

The impact of injuries is immense in terms of illness and loss of life, emotional suffering of individuals, families and communities and the cost of health care and lost productivity. Some groups have an increased risk of injury - for example youth, seniors, males, children living in families with low socio-economic status, and people living in rural areas.

Most injuries are predictable and preventable. A public health goal is to reduce the frequency, severity and impact of preventable injury and substance misuse. The overall rate of unintentional injury in Ontario has been declining due to concerted injury prevention efforts. However, there is still much to learn about how to prevent injuries, and much progress to be made in reducing injuries.

Deaths

During the years 2000 – 2005, there were an average of 34 deaths per year caused by unintentional injuries among residents of Renfrew County and District. This represents 3.6% of all deaths. The largest portion of unintentional injury deaths were caused by transport incidents (32%), followed by falls (17%) and poisoning (9%).

Hospitalizations

There were about 900 hospitalizations per year due to unintentional injuries among residents of Renfrew County and District during the three fiscal years 2005/06 to 2007/08. The vast majority of these were due to falls (68%), followed by transport incidents (13%). Hospitalization rates were highest for women in the oldest age groups (age 65 – 74 and 75+).

Emergency Department Visits

Residents of Renfrew County and District made about 17,500 emergency department (ED) visits per year because of  unintentional injuries during 2005/06 – 2007/08. The greatest proportion of these visits were due to exposure to inanimate mechanical forces such as machinery, tools, sharp objects and sports equipment (34%), followed by falls (27%) and overexertion and strenuous or repetitive movement (12%). ED visit rates were highest for males in the age 10 – 19 age group.

An analysis of the two leading causes of unintentional injuries - transport injuries and falls - identified local priorities for injury prevention as shown in the tables below.

Priorities for the prevention of transport injuries
Severity of injury Vehicles most often involved Gender and age groups most affected
Death Car, pickup truck/van, pedestrian Males age 20 - 64
Hospitalization Car, pedal cycle, ATV/off-road motor vehicle Males age 10 - 19 and 75+
Emergency department visit Car, pedal cycle, ATV/off-road motor vehicle Males age 10 - 19, females age 10 - 19

Priorities for the prevention of falls
Severity of injury Type of fall Gender and age groups most affected
Death Unspecified Over age 64
Hospitalization Fall on same level from slip, trip and stumble or other fall on one level Females over age 64
Emergency department visit Fall on same level from slip, trip and stumble or other fall on one level. Also falls involving furniture, stairs and steps (young and old) and playground equipment (age 1 - 9)
Females over age 74, males and females age 1 - 9

 

Most injuries are predictable and preventable. Much good work has been done to prevent unintentional injuries. Further success in reducing injuries can be achieved by continued collaboration and commitment.