Most major trauma incidents caused by low falls, report finds

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Most major trauma incidents caused by low falls, report finds

One in two major trauma patients sustain injury in their own home, many of them through falling.


A report has found that the majority of major trauma in Ireland is caused by a fall of less than two metres (Niall Carson/PA)
A report has found that the majority of major trauma in Ireland is caused by a fall of less than two metres (Niall Carson/PA)

The majority of major trauma incidents in Ireland are caused by a low fall of less than two metres, a report has found.

One in two patients sustained their injury in their own home, 77% of which were low falls.

The Major Trauma Audit (MTA) national report examines the most severely injured patients in the Irish healthcare system.

It presents data from over 5,000 patients across 26 trauma hospitals in Ireland, representing 86% of all major trauma patients in 2017.

Kenneth Mealy, president of RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), will launch the report at the NOCA (National Office of Clinical Audit) annual conference on Wednesday.

The report finds that the average age of major trauma patients was 58-years-old, with 21% of patients requiring transfer to another hospital for ongoing care.

This report tells us that our homes are dangerous places, especially for older people.
Dr Conor Deasy

Many patients in Ireland continue to be brought to hospitals that do not have the services on site to manage their injuries.

MTA highlights that 44% of patients who suffer major trauma are over the age of 65 years.

The report also shows that older major trauma patients with complex medical needs do not receive the same level of response as younger patients with the same severity of injury and have considerably worse outcomes.

Dr Conor Deasy, clinical lead for MTA, said: “This report tells us that our homes are dangerous places, especially for older people.

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“We need to address the epidemic of low falls in the home through engineering, medical and societal approaches.

“We have NCTs to ensure car and road user safety, should we have something similar for our homes given the burden of injury associated?”

Meanwhile, a report by the Irish National ICU Audit (INICUA) found that while ICU’s are safe there is a need for more beds to meet demand.

The INICUA was established by NOCA to focus on the care of patients in adult Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and Paediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs).

The report includes the very sickest patients in the Irish healthcare system and examines data from 6,186 adult patients and 1,463 paediatric patients across 14 units.

The report found that Irish units are very busy, with 91% bed occupancy in adult ICU’s and 94% bed occupancy in PICUs in 2017. The recommended occupancy levels are 70-80%.

The average length of stay in an adult ICU was five days, which is comparable to the UK. However, the overall length of stay in the hospital after discharge from an ICU was 24 days in Ireland, compared with 15 days in the UK.

Illness severity and the predicted risk of death at the time of admission to ICUs were higher for Irish adult patients than in the UK.

Dr Rory Dwyer, clinical lead for the Irish National ICU Audit said: “The report shows that most Irish ICUs work at the limits of their capacity, but provide high quality care with similar patient outcomes to the UK.”

Press Association


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