Background: Although the home is perceived to be a safe haven, it is a scene of numerous injuries.
Objectives: To characterize home injury in Israel, the victims, injury circumstances and outcomes, and to identify groups at high risk for injury in order to focus future interventions and thus effectively prevent these injuries and their associated hospitalizations.
Methods: We analyzed 5 year records (1997-2001) from the National Trauma Registry of all patients arriving at eight trauma centers following home injury and admitted to hospital, transferred to another medical center, or died in the emergency department.
Results: The study group included 26,921 patients, constituting 34% of all unintentional hospitalized trauma patients. Twenty-seven percent were children (0-4 years) and 37% were elderly (> or = 65 years), the two age groups whose home injury accounted for most of the trauma injuries. Among children more boys (59%) than girls (41%) were injured, but the opposite was true for the elderly (30% males and 70% females). The share of females among the home-injured increased with age. Falls caused 79% of all home injuries (97% among the elderly) and bums 9%, increasing to 18% among children (0-4 years). Among non-Jewish home-injured patients, infants predominated (50% compared to 20% among Jews). Moderate to critical injuries amounted for 42%, with 38% of the home-injured and 60% of the elderly requiring surgery. The clinical and economic consequences of home injuries differed according to the type of injury, with bums carrying the heaviest toll of prolonged intensive care and hospital stay. Overall, hospital stay averaged 6.2 days per patient (median 3 days).
Conclusions: Falls among the elderly, bums among children, and a high prevalence of hospitalization among non-Jewish children define groups at high risk for home injuries. Prevention programs should be based on these findings and should focus on the more vulnerable groups.