New report reveals truth of trauma impact on Queensland hospitals

A recently released report by Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) researcher Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur shows falls from playground equipment is one of the leading causes of injury hospitalisation for children while physical violence was the top cause of injury hospitalisation for young adults.

The Injury Hospitalisations in Public Acute Hospitals in Queensland: A Five Year Snapshot 2011-12-2015-16 reveals the impact of trauma cases on Queensland public hospitals.

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said the report provided valuable insights on the frequency and causes of injury hospitalisations in Queensland.

“This new report will help to guide the development of statewide policy around how our health system handles trauma cases as well as playing an important role in crafting prevention initiatives to help reduce the number of trauma cases we’re seeing,” Mr Dick said.

“Moreover, these findings offer our clinicians insight into injury hospitalisations across our state, arming them with a stronger understanding of the pattern and burden of trauma treated in Queensland hospitals.

“This report is just another demonstration of Queensland bolstering its position at the forefront of health research.”

Some highlights from the snapshot include:

  • Injuries have accounted for more than 154,000 episodes of care in public hospitals statewide since 2011-12.
  • Falls involving playground equipment were the main cause of injury hospitalisations for children 0-14 years (1,596 episodes of care over the five year period). Falls involving ice-skates, roller-skates, skateboards and scooters were the second top cause (829 episodes of care) and falls from slipping, tripping and stumbling were the third highest cause (671 episodes of care).
  • Assault by bodily force was the top cause of injury hospitalisations in young adults 15-34 years, resulting in 2,680 episodes of care over the five year period, and motorbike riders in non-collision accidents was the second, causing 2,224 episodes of care. Overexertion and strenuous or repetitive movement-related injury was the third highest cause for this age group, with 1,741 episodes of care recorded.
  • Falls were the main cause of injury hospitalisation for adults aged 35-64 years accounting for more than 9,300 episodes of care over the five year period.
  • Injury-related hospitalisations in older adults aged 65 years and over were shown to have risen by around 2,000, from around 9,600 episodes of care in 2011-12 to more than 11,500 in 2015-16. Different types of falls also accounted for the top three causes of injury hospitalisation in this age group.

The snapshot is the first in a series of reports using injury-related data from the Queensland Hospital Admitted Patient Data Collection.

Associate Professor Vallmuur, lead author of the report, said it marked the first step in a wider project to expand what Queensland clinicians know about the trauma patient’s journey through the health system and beyond.

“Aside from the type and number of trauma cases being experienced, this snapshot also shows more than 813,000 bed days were needed to care for the 154,000 injury-related episodes of care in public hospitals state wide since 2011-12, with each patient hospitalised for just over five days on average,” Associate Professor Vallmuur said.

“The reality is the more we know about the trauma cases we’re seeing in our hospitals, the sooner we can get these patients home, or even help prevent them from entering the health system in the first place, which reduces costs on the health system and improves the health of Queenslanders.”

Neil Singleton, Insurance Commissioner from the Motor Accident Insurance Commission, said the data offered a glimpse into the toll trauma takes on the community.

“It is our hope that casting a spotlight on the burden of trauma on our hospitals through this report and through ongoing work will lead to some serious and lasting change to improve the treatment, management and outcomes of trauma cases in Queensland, of which road trauma is a significant contributor,” Commissioner Singleton said.

“Reports such as this will be greatly facilitated in the future with work underway at Queensland Health’s Healthcare Improvement Unit to establish an integrated state-wide trauma data warehouse.”

Associate Professor Vallmuur is undertaking the warehouse project on behalf of the unit with funding support from the MAIC.

“The data warehouse will be an incredibly valuable asset to improve quality of care around trauma cases, to better inform trauma and injury prevention policy, and to enable injury research to improve the care and outcomes of injured patients in Queensland,” she said.

Mr Dick said as public hospital emergency departments (EDs) faced increasing demand, the research underscored the need for Queenslanders to keep EDs for emergencies only.

“There were 50,000 more presentations to EDs last year than in the previous year,” Mr Dick said.

“Some people are presenting with requests for prescriptions and medical certificates, and with minor ailments like a common cold, sunburn and splinters. I encourage people to call or visit your GP, call 13 HEALTH or call the After Hours Home Doctor Service if it is not urgent.”

2017-12-07T03:10:35+00:005 June 2017|
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