NI pharmacies launch awareness campaign on preventing accidents at home
Northern Ireland’s community pharmacies are taking part in a new public awareness campaign aimed at preventing accidents at home.
The Home Accident Prevention campaign, which pharmacies are delivering throughout December and January as part of the commissioned Living Well service, is aimed at raising awareness among communities around common hazards in the home and how to reduce risks.
The campaign is being delivered in partnership with Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland, the Department of Health and the Public Health Agency.
“On average two people die every week in Northern Ireland as a result of an accident in the home,” said the PHA, adding that accidents “can arise from many seemingly harmless sources” such as badly fitting footwear or “not using appropriate lighting at night”.
Belfast pharmacist Orfhlaith McAreavey, said community pharmacies are a suitable setting to deliver public health messages such as the importance of home accident prevention.
Ms McAreavey said: “Statistics show that children under the age of five, older people and those who are vulnerable are most likely to have an accident at home. The most common causes of home accidents for children under the age of five are poisonings; choking; suffocation and strangulation; falls; burns and scalds; and drowning.
“Falls are the most common accident for all age groups and young children and older people are especially at risk.
“We will be getting the message out to our local communities that accidents at home are preventable and there are steps we can take to minimise the risks.”
PHA home accident prevention lead Janine Gaston said: “There are around 17,000 admissions to hospital each year as a result of unintentional injuries. More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else.
“This can have a significant impact for those affected and their families and can also lead to significant pressure and cost for health and social care, other statutory services and wider society.
“The vast majority of accidental injuries and deaths in the home are caused by falls, but serious injury and death can result from a wide range of accidents, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, inhalation of smoke caused by fire, and blind cord strangulation.
“These deaths and injuries can easily be prevented by being aware of the dangers and hazards that are present in the home environment and putting in place interventions to minimise the risks.”