Cold weather sees rise in ED attendances for slips, tips and falls!

by Rose Barrett
0 comment

 Icy footpaths, frozen moss, water spillages from drains spillages make walking and driving in frosty conditions dangerous.

 Accidents resulting from this cold and icy spell are leading to a further increase in attendance at Emergency Departments (EDs) in Dublin and throughtout the country, adding to pressure on the hospital system. 

The HSE is today reminding the public to consider all available care options, including injury units, their GP, and local pharmacy if they have an injury from a slip, trip, or fall. Injury units are designed to treat injuries that are unlikely to need hospital admission and are perfectly equipped to treat someone with a broken bone, dislocated limb, or sprain.

There are a number of preventative measures people can take to reduce the likelihood of them falling, such as ensuring they are wearing appropriate footwear, not looking at their phones while walking and waiting until a little later in the day when the ice may have thawed before going out.   

According to Dr Colm Henry, HSE Chief Clinical Officer, “During the cold snap we are inevitably seeing more people in our EDs with injuries from slips, trips, and falls. We have and continue to put a huge focus on reducing wait times for our patients, as this has been shown time and time again to ensure better outcomes for the most ill and vulnerable people arriving into an ED. Part of this effort includes giving advice on the most appropriate care options for people, thus cutting down on their wait time and pressures on the EDs.

“In addition, we have introduced a number of measures to speed up hospital discharges and to avoid unnecessary admissions. This helps to free up capacity and reduce waiting times. The next few weeks will see very high pressure on health service capacity, but we are determined to do all we can to minimise waiting times because of these major patient safety considerations.”

Dr Gerry McCarthy, Clinical Lead, HSE National Clinical Programme for Emergency Medicine added, “I would like to remind people that there are other care options available to them, such as injury units and their local GP. With the expected peak in influenza activity due in the coming weeks and ED attendances up 2% since 2022 and up 10% from 2019, it is an extremely busy time in our hospitals and this will result in longer waiting times for those with less serious injuries. We of course want those who are seriously ill or injured and need to be in our EDs to go there, but if have an injury that you think may be less serious, take a minute to have a look for the nearest injury unit and check if your injury can be treated there. You will be treated more quickly.”

More minor injuries resulting from slips, trips, and falls such as bruises, sprains, and strains can often be treated at home, without the need to see a healthcare professional. We would urge the public to avail of health services such as the GP and injury units if they are concerned about an injury, or if the pain or swelling is getting worse.

Know where to go for the right care in the right place: Find an injury unit

Find information on when you should go to the ED

Treating strains and sprains

Related Articles