New Study: Pivoting injury prevention efforts during a pandemic: results of an international survey

A team of researchers led by Tanya Charyk Stewart with Purnima Unni, Holly Renee Hanson, Jason Gilliland, Andrew Clark, and Douglas D. Fraser recently published an article entitled: “Pivoting injury prevention efforts during a pandemic: results of an international survey.”

The COVID-19 a pandemic changed the world. Public health directives to socially distance with stay-at-home orders altered injury risk factor exposure, resulting injury patterns and conducting injury prevention (IP). The objective of this study was to determine the impact the COVID-19 pandemic on injury and IP at North American trauma centers (TC).

Sixty-two responses were received from pediatric (44%), adult (11%), and combined (31%) TC, from 22 American states, 5 Canadian provinces and Australia. The majority (91%) of programs targeted age groups from birth to 15 years old. Nearly one-third reported IP to be less of an institutional priority with funding redistributed in 15% of centers [median (IQR) − 25% (− 43, 1)], and resultant staffing changes at 38% of centers. A decrease in IP efforts was reported at 64% of TC. Overall, the majority of respondents reviewed injury data, with the top reported increased mechanisms mainly intentional: Firearm-related (75%), assaults (72%), and abuse (71%). Leading increased unintentional injuries were injuries occurring in the home such as falls (70%), followed by ATV (62%), and cycling (57%). Sites pivoted by presenting (74%) or participating (73%) in IP education virtually, social media posts (61%) and the addition of technology (29%). Top barriers were redeployment of partners (45%) and staff (31%), as well as lack of technology (40%) in the target population. Facilitators were technology at TC (74%), support of trauma program (63%), and having IP funding maintained (55%).

Nearly two-thirds of TC decreased IP efforts during the pandemic due to staffing and funding reductions. The leading reported increased injuries were intentional, indicating that violence prevention is needed, along with support for mental health. While TC successfully pivoted by using technology, access issues in the target population was a barrier resulting in health inequities.

Citation: Tanya Charyk Stewart, Purnima Unni, Holly Renee Hanson, Jason Gilliland, Andrew Clark, and Douglas D. Fraser. “Pivoting injury prevention efforts during a pandemic: results of an international survey.” Injury Epidemiology (2023); https://doi.org/10.1186/s40621-023-00472-3

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