Unintentional falls were the most common cause of injury in 2016-2017 according to a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), which found that nearly 1,800 reported emergency department visits and 417 hospital stays daily nationwide were the result of unintentional falls in that year.
Unintentional falls account for 32 per cent of all injury and trauma emergency department visits in 2016-2017.
In Newfoundland and Labrador alone there were 878 hospitalizations resulting from unintentional falls. This is compared to only 302 hospitalizations in the province resulting from winter sport injuries.
“Falls are the leading cause of preventable injury, and many of these injuries are quite serious,” says Greg Webster, director of Acute and Ambulatory Care Information Services at CIHI, “These injuries affect all age groups across the country.”
The most common place for falls is in the home, and they are generally the result of slipping, tripping, and stumbling.
The average number of hospitalizations across the country due to falls in 2016-2017 was 152,504, which is 5,895 more than the previous year. The length of hospital stays after a fall increased from 7.5 days to 14.3 days.
The most common injuries after a fall are hip fractures, followed by lower leg and ankle injuries, and head injuries.
The age-standardized rate for hospitalization from unintentional falls in Newfoundland and Labrador is 550 for every 100,000 people.
The CIHI published its report as part of the second annual National Injury Prevention Day on July 5, 2018, a recognition day started by Parachute Canada.
The federal government has made several recommendations to reduce the risk of falling at home including: using non-slip surfaces in the bathtub and shower, reducing clutter to ensure a clear path between and around rooms, storing heavy items in low and easy to reach places, and having solid handrails on both sides of the stairwell.