After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
• understand the impact of injuries on the health and wellbeing of communities
• identify potential risk factors for falls
• describe the main causes of transportation injuries
• describe the signs, pathophysiology and long-term effects of an acquired brain injury
• outline the effects of interpersonal violence, including self-harm and assault
• consider the impact of chronic pain on an individual that occurs as a result of injury
• understand the role of the nurse in injury prevention.
Injury prevention has been identified as one of Australia's targeted national health priorities (AIHW, 2015a). In New Zealand, injuries are the fifth most important cause of health loss (NZMOH and Accident Compensation Corporation, 2013). There is a significantly increasing trend in chronic illness and disability as a consequence of falls, transportation injuries, sporting and workplace accidents, and interpersonal violence. Many of these injuries result in hospitalisation. After receiving immediate treatment and stabilisation in the acute care setting, a person may require long-term physical rehabilitation or ongoing psychological support and counselling resulting from the injury sustained.
Health promotion and prevention programs are critical to raising awareness and reducing the incidence of injuries that occur. Falls account for 39.4 per cent of injuries, transportation 12 per cent, interpersonal violence, including self-harm, 5.9 per cent, assault 5.2 per cent, and other unintentional injuries 32.1 per cent. These alarming statistics have a significant impact on the cost to both people and health systems (AIHW, 2015b). A multi-layered approach is required to reduce the incidence of injuries. This includes government-led awareness programs such as driver safety campaigns (Proffitt & Beacham, 2012; Transport for NSW, 2015), domestic violence awareness (Parliament of Australia, 2011; Proffitt & Beacham, 2012), workplaces improving safety systems, and individuals taking responsibility for their own safety as well. Falls, transportation injuries, acquired brain injuries, interpersonal violence as a result of self-harm or assault, and the chronic pain that often results from injury will be the focus of this chapter.
Table 8.1 identifies the national competency standards for the registered nurse from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) that are addressed in this chapter.