AIHW Report Shows a Slow Rise in Injuries Resulting in Hospital Stays

By Petrina Smith
Wednesday, 21 August, 2013

 The number of injuries resulting in hospital stays has slowly risen over recent years, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2010-11.
The report looks at injury due to a diverse range of external causes, from assault and exposure to fire, smoke and heat, to falls, transport accidents, poisoning and drowning.
AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison said the number of cases of hospitalised injury that occurred per 1,000 population rose by about one per cent per year between 1999-00 and 2010-11. The annual number of cases rose from 327,000 to 438,000 over the same 12-year period.
The rate of cases involving poisoning by pharmaceuticals fell by five per cent per year and the rate for poisoning by other substances fell by four per cent per year over the 1999-00 to 2011-12 period.
The rate of hospitalised drowning and near drowning cases fell by one per cent per year overall, and by three per cent per year for children aged 0-4.
“However, there were increases in rates of hospitalised injury due to falls, by two per cent per year, and intentional self-harm, by one per cent per year,” Professor Harrison said. “Falls make up a large proportion of all hospitalised injury, so rising rates for this cause has a strong effect on the overall trend.”
In 2010­-11, injury hospitalisations were more common among males than females for all age groups except for people aged 65 and over, where the reverse was true.
“The 25 to 44 age range accounted for 29 per cent of injury hospitalisations for males and 18 per cent for females in 2010-11,” Professor Harrison said. “Two of the main causes of injury in 2010-11 were falls, at 39 per cent of cases, and transport accidents, at 12 per cent, followed by intentional self-harm at almost 6 per cent and assault at 5per cent.
“More than 170,000 people were hospitalised as a result of a fall in 2010-11, with 53 per cent of the cases occurring at the age of 65 and over.”
Professor Harrison said there were about 53,000 transport injury cases during 2010-11, with twice as many males as females hospitalised.
The report shows injury hospitalisation rates for Indigenous people were twice those of other Australians.
Rates were also consistently higher for residents of Very remote and Remote areas than for other areas, and were lowest for those living in Major cities.
The average length of stay in hospital because of an injury was four days, and eight days for people aged 65 and over.

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