Preventing Injuries in Our Community Eastern Ontario
What is an injury? Injury is the physical damage that results when a human body is suddenly or briefly subjected to intolerable levels of energy. The time between exposure to the energy and the appearance of an injury is short.
Injuries are often the result of: • Falls • Motor vehicle collisions • Self-harm • Unintentional poisoning • Sports and recreational activities • Off-road vehicle incidents • Pedestrian related incidents
Aren’t these accidents? • ACCIDENTS are defined as ‘unavoidable acts of fate’ • INJURIES are causally related to specific risk factors and events… they are predictable • Which means, they are preventable!
How do we know Injuries are common? • On a national level, the public health agency of Canada provides data related to the leading causes of hospitalizations and deaths • Injury is the leading cause of death for Canadians aged 1 – 34 • Further, if we include intentional injuries (suicide) it is the leading cause for ages 1 - 44
Injury in Canada: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2013.
Injury at a local level: • Injuries are tracked through a number of provincial and national databases in terms of: • Emergency room visits due to injury • Hospital admissions due to injury • Fatalities due to injury • For this presentation, the data comes from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s IntelliHEALTH database • The Eastern region includes the following PHUs: Renfrew; Hastings and Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington; Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark; Eastern Ontario; Ottawa
What causes injuries in our community? • In Eastern Ontario, the most common causes of injuries are: • Falls • On-road incidents • Poisoning • Sports and recreation incidents • Suicide • Suffocation and breathing incidents
Emergency Room Visits Note: Inanimate injuries relate to being crushed by objects. Animate injuries relate to interactions with animals Source: Ontario Regional Injury Data Report, 2013
Hospital Admissions Source: Ontario Regional Injury Data Report, 2013
Fatalities Source: Ontario Regional Injury Data Report, 2013
Preventing Injuries • Why does prevention matter? • There is no ‘cure’ for injury • As the data shows, injuries are common • Injuries have been estimated to cost Canadians 19.8 Billion dollars (SMARTRISK, 2009) • Looking past the physical and financial aspects of injury, there is also the emotional and social aspects • Injuries cause the families in our community needless emotional pain and loss • Difficult social transitions for injury survivors
What works for prevention? There are simple strategies we can work on right away to prevent injuries in Eastern Ontario: Falls: Remove hazards, exercise On-Road Incidents: Be alert and aware, wear seatbelts, slow down Poisoning: Smart storage, active supervision Sports and Recreation: Wear protective gear, be educated, train Suicide: Early intervention, mental health treatment and awareness Suffocation: Safe sleep environments, remove home hazards
Injury Prevention • Strategies often relate to the 3 E’s of Injury Prevention: • Education (e.g., mental health awareness) • Enforcement (e.g., seatbelt laws) • Engineering (e.g., protective gear) • Injury prevention will be most successful when a combination of these types of strategies is used!
Injury Prevention • Because these strategies cross many sectors (e.g., equipment development, information technology, law enforcement, education, public health, etc.), prevention efforts that can be designed and implemented with various community partners on board are best
Potential Partners and Resources • Parachute • Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre • Alberta Centre for Injury Research and Control • BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit • Atlantic Collaborative on Injury Prevention