RTSWA acting manager, Ryan Fernie, joined the new WA Police and Road Safety Minister, the Hon Michelle Roberts MLA and Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia for the annual Blessing of the Roads in Mirrabooka this year. The event was jointly coordinated by the cities of Stirling, Swan and Joondalup and put the focus on road safety as we headed into traditionally one of the worst periods on our roads – the Easter long weekend. To read more please click here.
Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia joined the Road Trauma Support team in Bunbury on Thursday May 9 for a specially tailored grief trauma and loss workshop for emergency services personnel in the region.
The day long session was designed to assist those on the front line both professionally and personally to support themselves and others when dealing with grief and trauma.
Mr Papalia introduced the session and spoke of his own experence as a police officer working in the field and the challenges that emergency services personnel face every day. To read more click here.
With the theme of Voices, Vision, Action, the 15th World Congress on Public Health in Melbourne, Australia (3-7 April 2017) saw a week of influential speakers come together from around the world with addresses from government representatives and ministers, panel discussions and research presentations, just to name a few.
The congress charged the attendees with taking the next steps to promote health within their own settings and pull from previous charters, such as the Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion 1, to build upon for future directives. Guided by the underlying foundation set out by the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the plenary presenters highlighted targets to improve health, protect the planet, end poverty and ensure equality for all.
Prominent topics from the Congress included climate change, gender and racial equality, Indigenous health and social corporate responsibility. The theme of injury remained as a secondary cause of poor health and was addressed within individual streams of oral research presentations, such as drowning, road trauma, violence against women and children, falls, and communities and environments.
However, it was disappointing to see that injury prevention was not a prominent area of focus for this Congress. Injury accounts for 10% of the global burden of disease2 and is the fourth most common cause of death and hospitalisation in Western Australia3, therefore more action is needed to pull injury to the forefront. Injury prevention is inherently interconnected with the SDGs and is recognised as one of the nine Health Priority Areas by the Australian Government4 , highlighting that communities and governments should continue to work together to mitigate risks associated with injury.
On my personal reflections on the Congress, from the sustainable development goals, to passionate speakers on climate change, to improving health within Indigenous populations, one key thought kept coming into my mind: Solidarity. As discussed by Dr Bettina Borisch from the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, solidarity is when ‘people can unite across our differences, not allowing themselves to be divided and conquered’. As health professionals, it is natural to become siloed within our professional focus, but as we all work to create a society where people live healthy and fulfilling lives, solidarity unites us to create a network that collaborates to take action. I found Dr Borisch’s call to solidarity really resonated with me and made me reflect on our current situation and to endeavour to work better in partnerships to promote health.
With the President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations Michael Moore stating ‘now is the time to take action’, take a moment to read, reflect and support The World Federation of Public Health Associations Demand for Action – Melbourne 2017 which can be found here.
Evidence and Practice Lead
1 World Health Organization. Ottawa Charter for Public Health [Internet]. World Health Organization; 1986. Available from: http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/previous/ottawa/en/
2 Haagsma JA, Graetz N, Bolliger I, Naghavi M, Higashi H, Mullany EC, et al. The global burden of injury: incidence, mortality, disability-adjusted life years and time trends from the Global Burden of Disease study 2013. Injury Prevention. 2016 Feb;22(1):3–18.
3 Ballestas T, Xiao J, McEvoy S, Somerford P. The Epidemiology of Injury In Western Australia, 2000 – 2008. Perth: Department of Health WA; 2011.
4 Australian Institute of Health and Wellness. National Health Priority Areas [Internet]. AIHW; 2017. Available from: http://aihw.gov.au/national-health-priority-areas/
A recent release by Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet “Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2016” provides a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health and current health status of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This report outlines some key injury figures pertaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
In 2014 – 2015 there were 29,237 hospital separations for injuries for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 
Falls (20%), assault (19%), exposure to mechanical forces (17%) and complications of medical and surgical care (14%) were the leading external causes of injury-related hospitalisations.1
Long-term conditions caused by injury were reported less frequently by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than by non-Indigenous people. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25 – 44 years of age experienced the highest proportion (%) of injury. 
The hospitalisation rates for injury for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased with remoteness from 38 per 1,000 in major cities to 74 per 1,000 in remote and very remote areas. 
After adjusting for age, the death rate from; assault was 8.2 times higher, land transport accidents 2.9 times higher and intentional self-harm 2 times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people. 
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet. Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2016 [Internet]. Australia Indigenous HealthInfoNet; 2017. Available from: http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-facts/overviews/selected-health-conditions/injury
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016) Admitted patient care 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014) Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey: first results, Australia, 2012-13: Table 6 [data cube]. Retrieved 26 March 2014
 Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (2016) Overcoming Indigenous disadvantage: key indicators 2016 report. Canberra: Productivity Commission
 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016) Causes of Death, Australia, 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2016 from www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2015~Main%20Features~Summary%20of%20findings~1
The recent release of the Incidence and Costs of Injury in Western Australia 2012 report by the Chronic Disease Directorate Department of Health WA indicates that injuries remain one of the most serious public health problems in WA.
A briefing on the report was held on Tuesday March 28 at Grace Vaughan House in Shenton Park to provide key stakeholders with expert analysis of the impact of injury across WA, including health sector costs, long-term care costs, and the impact of injury on paid productivity and quality of life.
The Director, Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate, Public Health Division, Department of Health, Denise Sullivan lead the expert panel and was joined by Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood, Director of the Burns Service of WA and Burn Injury Research Unit of WA, and Dr Delia Hendrie, Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health at Curtin University.
The report looks at the incidence of injuries across sociodemographic factors, regions, types of injuries and also at the impact of alcohol on injury.
It highlighted disproportionately high rates of injury across Aboriginal and regional populations.
Curtin University’s Dr Delia Hendrie said that there were many proven injury prevention measures currently being implemented across WA.
“Widely implementing them to reduce injuries would be very cost-effective and result in considerable cost savings to the community,” Dr Hendrie said.
The report identified falls as the most common category of unintentional injury across all age groups (costing $2.2 billion), except those in the 15-24 year old group who are most likely to be injured in a transport-related incidence.
Aboriginal people experienced emergency department visits and hospitalisations for injury at more than double the rate compared to non-Aboriginal people.
Alcohol related injuries were estimated to cost $1.9 billion. Alcohol was involved in 17.5% of injury fatalities and 32% of injury-related emergency department visits.
Those living in non-metropolitan areas, particularly the Kimberley, Wheatbelt and Goldfields regions experienced injury rates that were more than double those in the metropolitan areas.
The Injury Control Council of WA Acting Chief Executive, Sandy Lukjanowski, said the report highlighted the need for all levels of government to prioritise injury prevention to reduce the financial burden on the community.
“The high rates of injury for Aboriginal people and also for those in the regional areas reinforces the Injury Control Council of WA’s (ICCWA) renewed focus on injury prevention measures in both those areas and the need for further investment to address the over representation in injury data.”
The report cited evidence that injury is the fourth most common cause of death and the second highest cause of potential years of life lost.
The Incidence and Cost of Injury in Western Australia 2012 reported approximately 227,000 injury events occurred, which is equivalent to 93 injury events per 1,000 persons in Western Australia. As a result, the associated costs of injury equated to $9.6 billion, with the mean costing of each injury event estimated to be $42,000.
One of the successful Fuel Your Body grant winners is based at the University of Western Australia and is using the funds to run an innovative project which is aimed at improving the nutrition and strength and balance of a group of individuals with end stage kidney disease.
These patients require dialysis or a transplant to stay alive, says project coordinator Aron Chakera, who is the Head, Translational Renal Research Group, based at UWA and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
Chronic kidney disease affects one in six Australian adults and the incidence is rising Mr Chakera says.
Older adults over the age of 65 are now the fastest growing population on dialysis and currently make up 50% of the dialysis population.
These patients face an increased falls risk of between 13 and 50%(1), with one in seven patients suffering a fracture as a result of a fall, which in turn doubles the mortality risk of this cohort.(2,3) The research shows that older patients on dialysis are more vulnerable to falls due to a combination of risk factors including a sedentary lifestyle, muscle wasting and weakness, renal bone disease and malnutrition.
Malnutrition has been reported in up to 75% of patients on dialysis and this has been linked to frailty and an increased falls risk.(5-7) This project supported by the Stay On Your Feet® Fuel Your Body grant aims to reduce the risk of falls in a high risk population through evidence based interventions that are aimed at improving their nutrition through the provision of dietary information and providing physiotherapist-led home based exercises to improve their strength and balance.
The project began in February this year and is due to come to an end at the end of this month and has seen an average of four participants for each of the individual sessions and incorporates three nutrition and physiotherapy education and support sessions.
The sessions look at specific topics aimed at maximising nutrition including providing some simple snack and meal ideas and providing simple nutritional assessments as well as providing individualised dietary advice and guidelines.
So far Mr Chakera said the feedback from the sessions had been positive, although numbers were a little lower than he had initially hoped.
“The group has been receptive to the dietary advice given to them however it also revealed a number of misconceptions from patients about what they should be doing and what some of their medications are for, so it also provided an opportunity to provide further education and advice,” he said.
He said the group were showing early signs of being able to self-manage once the program ends and they were continuing to revise the program and materials so that hopefully it would be able to provide direction and guidelines once the patient contact phase was over.
This advice will be linked to a home based exercise program for patients provided by a physiotherapist. The participants will then be encouraged to perform these exercises at home, based on the Otago Exercise Program, which is a home based program that aims to reduce falls in older adults.
Mr Chakera said it was hoped the program would reinforce the importance of self-management and encourage participants to continue to exercise at home and to be linked with community based exercise groups and a physiotherapy service.
The program will incorporate follow up information on falls frequency together with their compliance with nutritional advice and exercises and will be assessed at 6, 9 and 12 months via phone.
Mr Chakera said he believed the project was innovative because it provides dietary and physiotherapy advice for a group at an extremely high risk of falls.
He said it also provides the best chance of achieving any meaningful and sustainable changes in patient outcomes with the tools developed during this program, with the aim of enabling it to be provided to other dialysis units across the state.
The project includes a number of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent and people who are socially isolated.
Ultimately, this innovative project aims to incorporate the information developed during this program and develop it into nutrition and exercise information resources, translated into a number of languages, reflecting the diversity of dialysis patients and will be available at the main dialysis units at Perth’s major hospitals.
Click here for more information about Stay On Your Feet® grants
Farragher J, Rajan T, Chiu E, Ulutas O, Tomlinson G, Cook WL, et al. Equivalent Fall
Risk in Elderly Patients on Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis. Peritoneal Dialysis
Kohlmeier M, Saupe J, Schaefer K, Asmus G. Bone Fracture History and Prospective
Bone Fracture Risk of Hemodialysis Patients are Related to Apolipoprotein E Genotype. Calcified Tissue International.1998;62(3):278-81.
Mittalhenkle A, Gillen DL, Stehman-Breen CO. Increased risk of mortality associated
with hip fracture in the dialysis population. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2004;44(4):672-9.
Chan M, Kelly J, Batterham M, Tapsell L. Malnutrition (subjective global assessment)
Scores and Serum Albumin Levels not Body Mass Index Values, at Initiation of Dialysis are
Independent Predictors of Mortality: A 10 Year Clinical Cohort Study. Journal of Renal Nutrition. 2012;22(6):547-557.
Kalanter-Zadeh K, Ikizler TA, Block G, Avram MM, Kopple JD. Malnutrition-inflam
Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the risk of falls in older adults.
However many people may not be aware of what safe alcohol consumption levels are as they age and that its effects can be amplified as a result of the natural ageing process.
Alcohol consumption is known to cause poor judgement, coordination problems and a lack of balance, increasing an individual’s falls risk.
The Fuel Your Body campaign, which runs until 30 April 2017, looks at ways of addressing these issues and aims to ensure older adults are well informed about the effects of alcohol consumption on the body.
The Stay On Your Feet® program aims to reduce the incidence of falls and falls-related injuries, which are the leading cause of hospitalisation of adults over the age of 65 in Australia and cost the WA Health System on average more than $100,000,000 each year.
Injury Prevention Manager, Rachel Meade, says the campaign has been designed to give older adults in the community basic information around food, alcohol and water consumption that are simple to follow, cost effective and age appropriate.
Accredited Practicing Dietician, Dr Christina Pollard, says limiting your alcohol intake as you age can help reduce the incidence of injuries due to slips, trips and falls as the result of impaired judgement, interference with balance and reduced reaction times due to the impact of alcohol on the body.
“Older people are more susceptible to the toxic effects of alcohol. This may be due to changes in their body composition, decreased metabolic capacity or other disease conditions and medications they use to manage them,” Dr Pollard says.
The Fuel Your Body campaign highlights the importance of drinking less alcohol, maintaining adequate hydration levels and eating a healthy, balanced diet to keep your brain and body healthy and has been developed using the latest evidence and input from expert dieticians in Western Australia.
Stay On Your Feet® is seeking to address these issues by promoting healthy behaviours that improve older Australians physical and mental wellbeing and to reinforce the benefits of preventing falls before they occur.
To find out more about safe levels of alcohol consumption and for further information and support contact Stay On Your Feet® on 1300 30 35 40 or visit www.stayonyourfeet.com.au
The ICCWA team, with expert guidance and assistance from Ingrid Cumming and the Code Switch team, move from Bunbury to Albany this month as part of our 2017 Reconciliation Action Plan Road Show.
We will be in Albany on Wednesday 22 March at the Albany Surf Life Saving Club and would like to hear from you!
Our RAP planning workshop will be fun, engaging and family friendly and will give you the chance to tell us how we can work with you and have a yarn and a feed at the same time!
Please view or download the attached RAP flyer and share it with your networks! We look forward to seeing you there!
It’s been a particularly busy time for ICCWA and its three flagship programs over the last three months with some exciting challenges and news to come throughout 2017 – it’s shaping up to be a big year.
To read more about what the team has been up to please click here
Road Trauma Support WA, and ICCWA will again join other leading road safety organisations across WA, Australia and the world to promote the annual Shine a Light on Road Safety Week campaign which is held during global Road Safety Week from May 8 to 14 2017.
This year the focus is on speed and on reminding drivers to slow down to prevent injuries and deaths on our roads.
For further information about how you and your organisation can get involved in the campaign please click here.