Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020. Injury. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 20 April 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/injury
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Injury. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/injury
Injury. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 23 July 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/injury
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Injury [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020 [cited 2021 Apr. 20]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/injury
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2020, Injury, viewed 20 April 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/injury
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Most injuries, whether unintentional or intentional, are preventable (WHO 2014). Despite this, every year in Australia, thousands of people die and many more are admitted to hospital or attend hospital emergency departments because of injuries. While people with minor injuries typically recover completely, people with serious injuries, if they survive, often have lasting health problems (Gabbe et al. 2017).
Injuries can happen to anyone, but some population groups are more at risk than others, such as people who live in areas that are more remote or have a lower socioeconomic position, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, older people and males (Figures 1 and 2).
The leading causes of injury and injury deaths in Australia include unintentional falls, transport crashes and intentional self-harm and suicide (AIHW 2020a, b) (Figures 1 and 2). Other causes of injury and injury deaths include exposure to animate and inanimate mechanical forces, assault, poisoning, thermal causes, and drownings and submersions. Exposure to animate forces includes contact with animals (for example, being bitten or struck by an animal) and contact with people (for example, being hit unintentionally by another person). Exposure to inanimate forces includes contact with tools, machinery, or sharp or exploding objects. Injuries commonly have multiple causes. For example, frailty and weak bones contribute to fall-related injury in old age.
Understanding the data on injury and injury deaths is an important factor in creating effective measures—for example, appropriate legislation, policies, education and technology—to reduce the risk of injury.
Falls are the leading cause of injury and injury deaths
In 2017–18, almost 223,000 cases of hospitalised injury and more than 5,100 injury deaths were due to unintentional falls. Falls were estimated to cost the Australian health system $3.9 billion in 2015–16 (AIHW 2019a).
In 2017–18, over 532,500 cases of injury resulted in admission to hospital in Australia:
See Hospital care.
This horizontal bar chart shows that the number and rate of hospitalised injury cases varies by cause of injury, age group and sex. Falls: 222,725 cases, inanimate forces: 74,482 cases, transport crash: 62,387 cases, intentional self-harm: 29,493 cases, animate forces: 23,296 cases, assault: 22,058 cases, accidental poisoning: 10,804 cases, thermal causes: 5,853 cases, drowning and submersion: 664 cases, other: 58,735 cases. For all causes except falls and intentional self-harm, the number of cases for males exceeds the number of cases for females.
Figure 1 data table (128KB XLSX)
In 2017–18, injury was recorded as a cause of more than 13,000 deaths—8.1% of deaths in that year:
See Causes of death.
This horizontal bar chart shows that the number and rate of injury deaths varies by cause of injury, age group and sex. Falls: 5,156, transport crash: 1,428, suicide: 3,006, other unintentional injury: 1,664, unintentional poisoning involving pharmaceuticals: 1,242, unintentional poisoning involving other substances: 363, drowning: 208, homicide: 204, thermal causes: 98. Falls was the only cause where more females (2,863) than males (2,293) died. For all other causes except ‘other unintentional injury’, the number of males that died was at least twice that of the number of females that died, and for transport crashes and suicide was about triple.
Figure 2 data table (128KB XLSX)
One in 4 (25%, or just over 2.0 million) presentations to public hospital emergency departments in 2018–19 were due to injury (AIHW 2020c). Of these:
See Hospital care.
In 2015, injuries accounted for 8.5% of the burden of disease in Australia (AIHW 2019b) and 7.0% of the long-term health conditions of the more than 4.3 million Australians living with a disability (ABS 2016). Injury is one of the top 5 contributing categories to the national burden of disease, along with cancer, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal conditions and mental and substance use disorders (AIHW 2019b). See Burden of disease.
In 2015–16, it was estimated that injury cost the Australian health system $8.9 billion dollars (7.6% of total health expenditure) (AIHW 2019a). See Health expenditure.
In 2017–18, the average length of stay in hospital for injury cases was 3.8 days—a total of almost 1.8 million days in hospital was recorded (AIHW 2020a).
For more information about injury, see:
Visit Injury for more on this topic.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016. Disability, ageing and carers, Australia: summary of findings 2015, data cubes. ABS cat. no. 4433.0. Canberra: ABS.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2019a. Disease expenditure in Australia. Cat. no. HWE 76. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2019b. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Cat. no. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2020a. National Hospital Morbidity Database. Findings based on unit record analysis. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2020b. National Mortality Database. Findings based on unit record analysis. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2020c. Emergency department care 2018–19. Canberra: AIHW.
Gabbe BJ, Simpson PM, Cameron PA, Ponsford J, Lyons RA, Collie A, et al. 2017. Long-term health status and trajectories of seriously injured patients: a population-based longitudinal study. PLoS Medicine 14(7): e1002322.
WHO (World Health Organization) 2014. Injuries and violence: the facts, 2014. Geneva: WHO.
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