95% of injuries are both predictable and preventable
The aim of the ONF neurotrauma prevention program is to reduce the incidence of brain and spinal cord injury.
According to research funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, The Cost of Injury in Canada (Parachute, Toronto, Ontario, 2015), more than 230,000 Canadians are hospitalized for serious injuries every year. These include traumatic head injury and spinal cord injury. Of those injured, almost 60,000 people are left with partial or total disability as a result of their injuries. Neurotrauma injuries lead to great social and personal costs; yet, the vast majority of these injuries are preventable. Falls are a leading cause of injury, particularly among those over the age of 65, and cost society approximately $8.7-billion a year in Canada – $2.8-billion of this cost occurs in Ontario.
Preventing neurotrauma injuries is a top priority of ONF
It is vital to understand more about how neurotrauma injuries occur in everyday life in order to devise strategies to prevent them. We must also understand how the results of ONF research can be translated into effective prevention practices and policies.
Given the prevalence of falls in the older adult population the current ONF priority is to identify and implement new research and knowledge exchange initiatives that will lead to implementation of evidence-based practice in this population.
By changing behaviours, procedures, policies and the environment in which we live, play and work we can prevent many of these costly injuries. To do this, we need to generate the appropriate research, translate the results into evidence-informed interventions and implement and evaluate these interventions on a broad scale.
Injuries likely to cause neurotrauma
There are four main injury categories that are most often the cause of neurotrauma in Canada: falls across the life span, transportation, sport and workplace.
- Falls across the life span This category continues to be the main cause for the majority of hospital emergency department visits (29.7 percent) and hospitalizations (55.4 percent).
- Transportation Injuries that occur during transportation (automobiles, bicycles, pedestrian) are also a common reason for emergency department visits and hospital stays (8.3 percent and 12.2 percent respectively).
- Sport In 2010 two percent of visits to hospital emergency departments were the result of sport-related injuries.
- Workplace A variety of injuries resulting in neurotrauma occur in the workplace especially workplaces where industrial and manufacturing equipment is used.
Source: The Cost of Injury in Canada, Parachute, Toronto, Ontario, 2015)
ONF has led, participated in and partnered on a range of research initiatives since 1998 in all four areas. ONF is a leader in supporting fall prevention through knowledge exchange and support to the implementation of evidence-informed practices.
For more information about the Injury Prevention Program, contact the Program Director, Hélène Gagné.