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More Australians are being hospitalised for injuries, with falls both the leading cause of injury hospitalisation and the type of injury that has increased the most in recent years, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2012-13, looks at injuries that required hospitalisation from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2013. The yearly number of cases rose from about 327,000 to 447,000 during this period.
'Our report found that the rate of hospitalised injury increased by an average of 1% per year from 1999-00 to 2012-13,' said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.
'The injury rate was about 1,700 per 100,000 people at the beginning of the period, but had risen to almost 1,900 by the end.'
The most common causes of injury in 2012-13 were falls (40%) and transport crashes (12%).
During that year over 170,000 people were hospitalised as a result of a fall. Over half the cases were people aged over 65 years, and most people hospitalised for a fall injury in this age group were women.
'Transport crash injuries were more common in males (about 36,880) than females (17,730), and rates were highest for the 15-24 age group,' Professor Harrison said.
Injuries due to falls increased 2% per year and intentional self-harm injuries increased 0.4%.
Hospitalisations due to poisoning by pharmaceuticals, and other substances, both decreased by 4% per year, and drowning decreased by 1%.
Overall, injuries were more common among males than females (250,440 cases compared to 196,233 cases). Numbers and rates of injuries were higher for males than females for all age groups to 60-64, with the largest difference seen in the age group 15-24.
'However, above the age of 64 years, this reversed, with injury rates higher among women than men,' Professor Harrison said.
The average length of stay in hospital as a result of injury was 4 days-equating to more than 1.7 million days in 2012-13. Length of stay in hospital increased with age to an average of 7 days for people aged 65 and over.
'About 16% of injury cases were considered a high threat to life, and this increased to 29% for people aged 65 and over.'
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Canberra, 26 August
Further information: Professor James Harrison, AIHW, mob. 0405 031 467
Full publication: Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2012-13