Half of all major traumas occur in the home

Majority of injuries caused by low falls
  • Deborah Condon

Half of all major trauma injuries in Ireland occur in the home, a new report has revealed.

According to the Major Trauma Audit National Report 2018, which has been published by the National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA), 50% of all major trauma injuries occur at home, while 37% occur in a public place or on roads.

The term trauma refers to physical injuries of sudden onset and severity, which require immediate medical attention, for example, following a road traffic accident or a fall. Major trauma describes serious and often multiple injuries where there is a strong possibility of death or disability.

This audit focused on the care of the more severely injured trauma patients in the Irish healthcare system in 2018. Its findings are based on data from over 5,400 patients.

It revealed that men were more likely than women to sustain a major trauma injury and 51% of patients were of working age.

Adults over the age of 65 accounted for 46% of all major trauma patients.

Falls of less than two metres, known as low falls, were the most frequent cause of injury, accounting for 58% of all cases. Limb injuries were the most common type of injury sustained due to a low fall, followed by head injuries.

Meanwhile, head injuries accounted for 18% of all major trauma injuries, with 15% of these considered severe injuries. Among those who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, 38% were as a result of low falls, while 31% were as a result of a road accident.

The report also found that 20% of all major trauma patients in 2018 had to be transferred on to another hospital for further care, while just 9% of patients were documented as having been reviewed by a consultant within 30 minutes of arrival to an Emergency Department (ED).

Among patients who required a CT brain scan, 48% received it within one hour - an increase of 7% when compared to 2017.

The report also found that the average length of acute hospital stay was nine days and 59% of patients were discharged directly home.

The highest proportion of deaths among major trauma patients occurred in those over the age of 75, and almost two-thirds of these deaths were among men.

The highest proportion of deaths overall (59%) were attributable to low falls.

The audit can be viewed here.


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