The CDC recently published the results of a study related to injuries occuring in the bathroom resulting in emergency department (ED) visits. An excerpt from the article is provided below.
Emergency Department (ED) Visits
PT and OT can reduce injury risk through specific analysis of bathroom mobility, environmental modifications including but not limited to non-slip surfaces, grab bars, tub seats, modified toilet seats and the use of visual contrast. Transfers onto and off of the toilet should be a particular focus of treatment for at risk clients. Addressing shower/tub safety as part of the safe transition plan is also important. Check out the staff resources available in the ADL and falls prevention folders under clinical tools tab of the portal to help with your efforts to promote bathroom safety.
Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥15 Years — US, 2008
June 10, 2011 / 60(22);729-733
In 2008, an estimated 234,094 nonfatal bathroom injuries among persons aged ≥15 years were treated in U.S. EDs, for an injury rate of 96.4 per 100,000 population. The rate for women was 121.2 per 100,000 and was 72% higher than the rate for men (70.4 per 100,000) (Table 1). Although approximately the same number of cases occurred in each 10-year age group, injury rates increased with age. Falls were the most common primary cause of injury (81.1%), and the most frequent diagnosis was contusions or abrasions (29.3%). The head or neck was the most common primary part of the body injured (31.2%). Most patients (84.9%) were treated and released from the ED; 13.7% were treated in the ED and subsequently hospitalized.
The highest rates were for injuries that occurred in or around the tub or shower (65.8 per 100,000) and injuries that happened on or near the toilet (22.5 per 100,000) (Table 2). The precipitating events in 37.3% of injuries were bathing (excluding slipping while bathing), showering, or getting out of the tub or shower; only 2.2% occurred while getting into the tub or shower. The precipitating event for 17.3% of injuries was slipping, which included slipping while bathing; 14.1% occurred when standing up from, sitting down on, or using the toilet; and 5.5% were attributed to an antecedent loss of consciousness.
Injury rates increased with age, especially those that occurred on or near the toilet, which increased from 4.1 per 100,000 among persons aged 15–24 years to 266.6 among persons aged ≥85 years. Injuries occurring in or around the tub or shower also increased markedly, from 49.7 per 100,000 among persons aged 15–24 years to 200.2 among persons aged ≥85 years. Within each 10-year age category, the relative proportion of injuries differed by location within the bathroom. The proportion of injuries in or around the tub or shower was highest among persons aged 15–24 years (84.5%) and lowest among persons aged ≥85 years (38.9%), whereas the proportion of injuries that happened on or near the toilet was lowest among persons aged 15–24 years (7.0%) and highest among persons aged ≥85 years (51.7%).
Within age categories, the relative proportion of injuries also differed by precipitating event (or activity). Among persons aged 15–24 years, the percentage of injuries that occurred while bathing or showering was 34.3% (rate 20.2 per 100,000), whereas among persons aged ≥85 years, the percentage of injuries occurring while bathing or showering was 15.5% (rate 79.9). In contrast, the proportion of injuries that occurred when getting on, off, or using the toilet was lowest among persons aged 15–24 years (2.0%) and increased with age, reaching 19.3% among persons aged 65–74 years, 26.9% among persons aged 75–84 years, and 36.9% among persons aged ≥85 years. Injury rates were 1.2, 21.6, 64.8, and 190.1 per 100,000 for age groups 15–24, 65–74, 75–84, and ≥85 years, respectively.
The injury rate associated with syncope or loss of consciousness was low. For most age groups, it accounted for fewer than 7.0% of injuries and ranged from 3.6% among persons aged 25–34 years to 9.4% among persons aged 15–24 years.
The leading injury diagnoses were contusions or abrasions (29.3%), strain or sprain (19.6%), and fracture (17.4%). The age-specific rate for contusions or abrasions increased from 13.5 per 100,000 (aged 15–24 years) to 157.9 (aged ≥85 years), whereas rates for strains and sprains increased only slightly with age. In contrast, the fracture rate increased markedly, from 5.8 per 100,000 (aged 25–34 years) to 165.6 (aged ≥85 years). Hospitalization rates, which could be calculated only for persons aged ≥55 years, followed a similar pattern (lowest among persons aged 55–64 years [11.9 per 100,000] and highest among persons aged ≥85 years [197.4]).
Judy A. Stevens, PhD, Elizabeth N. Haas, Div of Unintentional Injury Prevention; Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, Office of Program and Statistics, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC. Corresponding contributor: Judy A. Stevens, CDC, email@example.com, 770-488-4649.