DIY home injuries increase during COVID-19 lockdown, overall ED presentations continue to decline

Stay-at-home restrictions caused by COVID-19 have coincided with a rise in Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home injuries during April, the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has reported.

The number of emergency department (ED) presentations in Victorian hospitals relating to DIY injuries grew from 255 in April 2019 to 335 in April 2020.

Sixty-three per cent of these injuries were sustained by men aged 25-64 years.

The figures have been released by MUARC’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit (VISU) as part of its latest monthly bulletin on injuries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bulletin revealed the overall number of ED presentations decreased by 32% from 151,217 in April 2019 to 102,220 in April 2020.

VISU’s previous monthly bulletin showed that ED presentations in March had also decreased: from 158,106 in March 2019 to 151,187 in March 2020.

Specifically, ED service use for respiratory diseases was 50% lower in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

Presentations for potentially life-threatening conditions such as myocardial infarction/heart attack (down 18%) and stroke (down 24%) were also reduced compared to April 2019.  These numbers suggest an increased threshold for the use of health services during this period, which may signify missed opportunities for early treatment and intervention.

Transport injuries also trended downward. The most significant decline was for motor vehicle injuries, with ED presentations dropping by 52% compared to April 2019.

However, pedal cyclists bucked the trend, recording a slight increase in injuries.

Self-harm and assaults were other injury types to see a decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019, although proportional to ED caseload, these injury causes increased.

VISU extracted from the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset (VEMD), which holds deidentified clinical records of presentations at Victorian public hospitals with designated 24-hour emergency departments (currently 38 hospitals). ED presentations from 1 April 2019 to 30 April 2020 were analysed for this bulletin.

Access the full bulletin: Injuries During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Edition 2 (PDF, 1.26 MB)