Unintentional Injuries in British Columbia: Trends and Patterns Among Adults and Seniors, 1987-1998

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The injury literature shows that patterns of injury can be identified on the basis of age, gender, cause, social characteristics and geographic location (Rivara & Mueller, 1987). These patterns represent opportunities for prevention. For example, injuries have been found to be more common in lower income households, and people living in rural areas are at greater risk than their metropolitan counterparts. These patterns point to the potential for targeting injury prevention to specific groups, and to the need for considering injury as the result of preventable factors and not of chance occurrences.

The steps to understanding and preventing injuries can be viewed through the Injury Prevention and Evaluation Cycle (IPEC) (Soubhi, et al., 1999). IPEC includes seven steps [Figure 1.1]

  • Assessing the burden of injury
  • Identifying risk factors and conditions of injury
  • Evaluating the efficacy of interventions and preventive actions targeted towards injury
  • Evaluating the efficiency of interventions and preventive actions targeted towards injury
  • Implementing new injury prevention initiatives
  • Monitoring injury prevention initiatives
  • Reassessing the burden of injury

This cycle is iterative in that the burden of injury may be reduced in small increments, and that surveillance must be maintained in order to sustain continued reduction. This study will focus on the first step of IPEC, assessing the burden of injury among adults and seniors in BC. This study will also provide the foundation for the second step, identifying risk factors and risk conditions of injury, by looking at the variation in injury events between age groups, gender, geographic locations and other information. Based on mortality and hospitalization data, patterns of fatal and non-fatal injuries among adults and seniors in BC will be described, including leading causes of injury, time trends, and regional variation.

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