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Taking a closer look at injuries during the pandemic

A lengthy pause on outdoor adult and junior sport competitions in Victoria has impacted the number of sporting injuries in 2020.

Researchers are investigating changes to injury patterns during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The in-depth audit will examine those treated at Peninsula Health’s Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery Unit at Frankston Hospital over a six-month period this year, to see which injuries have been most prevalent among patients.

“Plastic surgery units around the world have reported changes in injury patterns,” says Mr Marc Seifman, the study’s lead investigator and a Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgeon across multiple Victorian health services.

“What we have been seeing particularly here in Australia is home-based injury rates increasing, including home handyman and construction injuries.”

“Home has become the workplace, it’s become the classroom, it’s changed the way we do business and it’s changed the way we live our lives at this point in time.”

With Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions changing the way communities spend their time, Mr Seifman says there has also been decreases in other forms of injuries people might otherwise sustain.

“Conversely, motor vehicle accidents and sporting injuries are reduced, and that has impacted upon some of the urgent plastic surgical caseload we would otherwise normally treat,” adds Mr Seifman.

“What we’re trying to do is really obtain a clear picture of how the injury patterns are changing, because of the way people are living in this COVID-19 environment.”

Mr Seifman says the research will also look at how long patients have been waiting before presenting to hospital with an injury.

“If people are putting off seeking important medical care it could be making a critical difference to their quality of life,” says Mr Seifman.

“This study will improve our understanding of how community behaviour drives injuryrates. This could form the basis for adjusting policies, to account for these changes in types of hospital presentations.”

This story first appeared in the Research Report 2020. For a full list of Peninsula Health publications go to www.peninsulahealth.org.au/about-us/publications.