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New study: Injuries cost BC $3.7 billion a year

August 24, 2015
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Injuries cost British Columbia $3.7 billion in one year – that’s over $400,000 an hour, shows a new report called The Economic Burden of Injury in British Columbia released today by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children’s Hospital. The report shows where injury prevention efforts could have the greatest return on investment for all age groups. 

In addition to the physical and emotional impact on individuals and families, injuries come with a significant economic cost. Falls, transportation incidents, and suicide/self-harm were the top three contributors with injury costs of $1.2 billion, $658 million, and $424 million respectively. These incidents were also the three leading causes of injury in BC.

The dollars include health care system costs, such as hospitalization and patient care expenses, as well as indirect costs of lost economic productivity from disability and premature death. The report is based on the latest available data from provincial and national sources (2010).

Falls caused the most deaths from injury (552) and were the most common cause of permanent disability (3500). Suicide and self-harm were the second leading cause of death (504) followed by transport incidents (352).

Children & Youth

For youth ages 15 to 24, transport incidents were the main reason for injury-related health care costs ($74 million). Young men in this age group had nearly double the rates of hospitalization, disability, or death due to transport-related injuries than their female peers.

For children under 14, falls were the leading cause of injury-related health care costs ($88 million). Falls were also the top reason for hospitalization for children and youth under age 24.

BC Casebook of Injury Prevention

Based on the report, the researchers recommend that communities target their injury prevention efforts on reducing falls among all ages and improving transportation safety for children, youth and young adults. 

To support communities, the researchers produced the accompanying British Columbia Casebook of Injury Prevention, a how-to guide on injury prevention campaigns that includes examples of successful BC-led initiatives such as:

  • The Online Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) – a website for parents, young athletes, coaches, educators and medical professionals. CATT provides free, evidence-based resources on preventing, recognizing and managing concussions, which are most frequently caused by falls. Good concussion management decreases the risk of brain damage and reduces long-term health issues. For more information, visit www.cattonline.com.
  • A Million Messages – a childhood injury prevention program designed to help families, parents and caregivers avoid feeling overwhelmed with “a million messages” on child health and wellness. An evaluation showed that 60 per cent of parents/caregivers who received the program indicated they had learned something new and 46 per cent reported that this information led to behaviour changes.

Quote:

Dr. Ian Pike,  Director, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia

  • “Many years of life are lost because of injuries that are entirely preventable. Our analysis shows the significant return on investment for injury prevention activities. These data help communities determine where to prioritize and focus their injury prevention efforts.”

Quick Facts: (Note: Based on 2010 data)

  1. Injuries are the leading cause of death among people ages one to 44 years in BC. Every four hours and 24 minutes, one person in BC dies as a result of injury.
  2. Injuries resulted in 2,009 deaths, 34,998 hospitalizations, and 456,390 emergency department visits in BC. 
  3. Injury-related deaths cost $3.7-billion. Direct costs such as hospitalization expenses were $2.3-billion, and indirect costs were $1.4-billion. 
  4. The average cost of injury was highest among youth ages 15 to 24 years at $1,185 per person, followed by adults over 65 at $965 per person.
  5. Falls were the single greatest cause of injury-related health care costs for children, adults and seniors. Falls had the highest death rate (12.36 per 100,000), and the highest health care costs per person ($215).
The Economic Burden of Injury in British Columbia was supported by the BC Ministry of Health, the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI), the Provincial Health Services Authority, and the University of British Columbia. The report is based on the latest available data (2010) from the BC Ministry of Health, BC Vital Statistics, National Ambulatory Care Reporting System and Statistics Canada as well as calculations for disability rates and morbidity costs.

The British Columbia Casebook of Injury Prevention was supported by the Provincial Health Services Authority, Fraser Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Northern Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, First Nations Health Authority and Parachute Canada. The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit is supported by the Child & Family Research Institute, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, BC Ministry of Health, Provincial Health Services Authority, and the University of British Columbia.

Read more: The BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit releases two new reports on injury prevention in BC

The Economic Burden of Injury in BC:

The BC Casebook for Injury Prevention: