The Population & Public Health program (PPH) aims to reduce the burden of injury in British Columbia through partnerships and coordinated efforts for advocacy, policy and strategic planning, building capacity, and implementing and evaluating injury prevention interventions.
Injuries are predictable and preventable. Still, injuries are the fourth leading cause of death and contribute to 40% of all potential years of life lost.1 For individuals ages 10 to 44 years, injuries are the leading cause of death.2 Among those aged 1-44 years, injuries account for over 70% of preventable years of life lost.
The economic impact of injuries in British Columbia totaled $4.5 billion in 2019.3 Injuries also exact a burden both socially and economically on British Columbians in the form of distress, lost income, extended care needs, rehabilitation expenses, and gaps in the family unit.
Together with the BC Injury Prevention Committee and the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU), the PPH team established three provincial priorities to guide injury prevention initiatives in BC. The three priorities are:
- Community-dwelling seniors falls and fall-related injury prevention;
- Transport-related injury prevention; and
- Youth suicide and self-harm prevention.
Work is ongoing to establish recommendations and a work plan for each of the three priorities.
PPH works with the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities, academic institutions, and non-government community organizations to integrate research, policy, and practice for injury prevention.
PPH is involved in coalitions to advance public policy on injury prevention in British Columbia.
BCCDC co-chairs the BC Injury Prevention Committee, which provides guidance and recommendations on injury prevention to the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Officer. Priority areas include Community-Dwelling Seniors Falls and Fall-Related Injury Prevention, Road Safety, and Youth Suicide and Self-Harm. The committee:
- Informs the development of provincial (Ministry of Health or cross-government) policies and guidelines
- Makes recommendations for the implementation of programs for injury prevention
- Makes recommendations for the use of specific indicators to monitor injury prevention programs and burden of injury
- Makes recommendations for training of healthcare practitioners
- Makes recommendations for research priorities.
BCCDC co-chairs this independent strategic alliance of organizations supporting injury prevention priorities and activities across British Columbia. The BCIPA aims to create coordinated, collaborative and integrated leadership and action on injury prevention across British Columbia that supports a decrease in preventable injuries. Specifically the BCIPA:
- Advise and assist one another regarding research, strategies, policies, and programs that member organizations are undertaking
- Identify and promote priorities where evidence supports that progress can be made in injury prevention
- Coordinate and collaborate on activities addressing significant injury issues
- Provide collaborative leadership thinking and action on injury prevention.
This CoP, co-chaired by members of the PPH team, fosters collaboration, reduces the duplication of efforts, and works toward the standardization of provincial fall prevention resources. Membership comprises fall prevention leads from all seven health authorities and the Ministry of Health.
Did you know that every 10 minutes a Canadian community-dwelling older adult (65+ years) is hospitalized because of a fall? Did you know falls account for 40% of all nursing home admissions? On average in BC, 37 older adults are hospitalized every day due to fall-related injuries.
The first week of November is Seniors' Fall Prevention Awareness Week in British Columbia. Since 2015, Finding Balance BC holds a month-long provincial public awareness campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to provide the tools community-dwelling older adults need to remain safe in their homes, through encouraging them to take action to reduce their risk of falling. The multi-platform campaign uses the Internet, social media, and other tools to reach older adults, family caregivers, and healthcare professionals.
To promote this campaign, you can download posters and a falls risk assessment checklist from the Finding Balance BC website
as well as access fall prevention information and resources, available all year.
The BCCDC supports the efforts of the BCIRPU in their promotion of injury prevention messaging aimed at the public through the web and social media: