This type of injury is most common in older people

Older people are now the category most at risk from life threatening or life altering injuries.

This has shifted from younger men, according to a new audit report for 2016.

The Major Trauma Audit National Report also reveals most patients with these injuries attend emergency departments outside 'normal working hours'.

The main recommendation of the report is that we need to change the way we provide services here.

Only 8 percent of people with life threatening injuries are met by a trauma team when they arrive at Emergency Departments.

Dr. Conor Deasy, Clinical Lead for MTA (Major Trauma Audit) says the findings prove we need to reform the system for treating seriously injured patients:

 More than a quarter of trauma patients were transferred for ongoing care due to lack of services on site while nearly half with severe head injuries didn't get treated at a neurosurgical centre.

58 percent of patients looked for treatment at Emergency Departments between 4pm and 8am which is considered outside 'normal working hours.

The biggest change they've seen is from younger men with high energy traumas - like crashes - to now, most commonly, older patients sustaining major trauma from falls at home.

KEY FINDINGS

  • More than 1 in every 4 (28%) patients were transferred for ongoing trauma care because the necessary trauma services were not available on site.
  • A significant number of patients with severe head injury (45%) did not receive care at a neurosurgical centre.
  • MTA highlights that a high incidence (40%) of major trauma is sustained by older patients age 65 years and older.
  • 'Low falls' (a fall of less than 2 metres) were the leading cause of injury for 1 in 2 (51%) of all major trauma patients and 77% of patients age 65 and older.
  • Forty-seven percent (47%) of patients were injured in the home - 72% of these patients suffered a 'low fall'.
  • Fifty-eight percent (58%) of patients arrived to the Emergency Department between 4pm and 8am outside of 'normal working hours'.
  • Older major trauma patients have more complex medical needs. This report shows that they do not receive the same level of alert or management by senior clinicians. They are more likely to die and suffer higher levels of disability and require more ongoing care in rehabilitation or long term care.
  • Thirty-one percent (31%) of major trauma patients had multiple injuries.
  • Only 62% of major trauma patients were discharged directly home following their hospital admission.