The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released a report yesterday (August 21) that reveals some shocking facts and figures about hospitalisation rates for injuries in Australia.
"Trends in Hospitalised Injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2010-11" shows that the number of injuries requiring hospitalisation has risen over the past 12 years.
While it may only have been by one per cent, this amounts to an increase from 327,000 cases to 438,000 cases per year.
The report also demonstrates that four days is the average amount of time a person will have to stay in hospital because of their injuries.
This jumps to eight days for people that are over the age of 65.
The most common cause of injury is falling, which accounted for 39 per cent of all cases admitted to hospital between 2010 and 2011.
Professor James Harrison, spokesperson for the AIHW, said that over 170,000 people were admitted to hospital and treated as a result of falling. Just over half (53 per cent) of these were aged 65 years or over.
This was followed, though not closely, by transport accidents, which were responsible for 12 per cent of injuries requiring hospitalisation. This equates to about 53,000 cases during 2010 and 2011.
Professor Harrison revealed that males were twice as likely as women to be hospitalised because of transport accidents.
This reflects an overall trend in hospitalisation rates – that more men are hospitalised as a result of injuries than women each year.
This is true of all age groups except for those aged 65 and over, where women were more likely to be hospitalised.
For the most part, such injuries are avoidable.
If you are over the age of 65, you may want to take precautions around the home to reduce the risk of falling. For instance, the Mayo Clinic suggests moving "home hazards," such as boxes, coffee tables and other pieces of furniture, so there is nothing blocking your path.
You may also want to secure rugs and ask someone to help you repair any loose floorboards that could cause you to trip.
If you do require hospitalisation because of an injury, having a health insurance policy may help you avoid paying exorbitant hospital and medical costs.
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