This report, covering injuries resulting in admission to Australian hospitals in the financial year 2008-09, is the seventh in the series which started in 2001-02 (Berry & Harrison 2006).
The focus of the report is analysis of community injury (that is, injuries typically sustained in the home, workplace, street, etc.). The report also includes short sections on work and sports related injury, complications of surgical and medical care and residual injury such as adverse effects not elsewhere classified.
An estimated 412,985 community injury cases required hospitalisation during the twelve-month period 2008-09 (239,345 males and 173,637 females).
A total of 1,662,148 patient days were attributed to hospitalised community injury equating to a mean length of stay of 3.2 days per hospitalised case.
The leading cause of hospitalised injury was an unintentional fall, accounting for 38% of all community injury cases. Unlike for most other types of community injury, females outnumbered males (56% to 44%) and rates were highest for older Australians.
The second most common cause of hospitalised injury was transport accidents (14% or 60,886 cases). Males had a higher rate of transport injury hospitalisations than females across all age groups, with the highest rates among those aged 15-24.
For very young children aged 0-4, the most common specific causes of injury were falls (40%), smoke, fire, heat and hot substances (8%) and poisoning by drugs (7%). Falls were also the most common cause of injury for older children aged 5-14 (45%), followed by transport accidents (17%). The most common causes of injury for young adults aged 15-24 were transport accidents (20%), falls (14%), assault (12%) and intentional self-harm (10%). A similar pattern was seen in adults aged 25-44 where transport accidents accounted for 17% of hospitalisations, falls for 15%, intentional self-harm for 11% and assault for 11%. For adults aged 45-64, falls were prominent, accounting for 31% of hospitalisations, followed by transport accidents (14%) and intentional self-harm (7%). For those aged 65 and over, well over three-quarters of hospitalisations were the result of falls (76%).
Just over a quarter of all hospitalised injury cases occurred at home. A higher percentage of females than males were injured at home (35% vs. 19%) or in a residential institution
(4% vs. 1%). Males were more likely than females to have been injured on a street or highway, as well as in sports and athletics areas, trade and construction areas, and farms.
Rates of community injury increased with geographical remoteness. The lowest rate of 1,661 per 100,000 was found for major cities while the highest rate was found for Very remote regions (3,795 per 100,000 population).
The upward trend in the age-standardised rates of community injury continued from 1,724 cases per 100,000 population in 1999-00 to 1,827 in 2007-08 and to 1,865 cases per 100,000 in 2008-09. This trend was observed for both males and females.