Background Homelessness is an important social problem. It is estimated that 5,735 people are homeless and residing in the seven largest communities in Alberta. Understanding the prevalence of injury among people who identify as homeless would have significant implications for prevention. This surveillance research examines injury-related emergency department visits of those experiencing homelessness in Alberta.
Methods Data was obtained from the Ministry of Health for emergency department visits for the calendar years of 2019 and 2020. Homelessness was identified by the use of ICD10-CA diagnosis code Z59.0 and mechanism of injury was identified by the first external cause code ICD10-CA diagnosis code V00-Y36.9. There is no source that accurately counts the homeless population so population based rates can not be calculated.
Results Over the 2 year period there were an average of 5814 injury related emergency department visits. Males were treated most often with males between the ages 35 to 39 years having the most visits (73%). The leading causes of visits were unintentional poisoning, violence, and falls.
Conclusion This research provides a starting point to examine the burden of injuries and a catalyst to develop specific interventions to address injuries among homeless Albertans.
Learning outcomes Attendees:
will understand the burden of injury among homeless Albertans
will acquire knowledge about the unique characteristics of injury suffered by homeless persons
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