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Hand injuries during COVID-19: Lessons from lockdown.

Authors
  • Ho, Emma1
  • Riordan, Edward2
  • Nicklin, Sean1
  • 1 Department of Hand Surgery, Sydney Hospital, 8 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 Department of Hand Surgery, Sydney Hospital, 8 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia; University of Sydney, NSW, Australia. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery : JPRAS
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
Volume
74
Issue
6
Pages
1408–1412
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjps.2020.12.020
PMID: 33384232
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The two-month nationwide lockdown implemented in Australia in response to COVID-19 involved restrictions on social gatherings and non-essential services, resulting in marked changes to the distribution of time spent at home and in the workplace. Given the likelihood of future lockdowns, this study aimed to investigate whether the lockdown was associated with an alteration in the pattern of acute hand injuries admitted to Sydney Hospital Hand Unit relative to the same period in 2019, and whether target areas for preventative strategies could be identified. During the lockdown period in 2020, 332 acute presentations were noted, and in the same period in 2019, 310 cases were noted. The mean patient age was higher in 2020, largely due to a 327% increase in do-it-yourself (DIY) injuries. Workplace injuries increased in 2020 despite a 9.5% reduction in hours-worked, reflecting a redistribution of workers into manual labour jobs with a higher risk for hand injuries. Patients who suffered low-energy injuries at work were also significantly younger in 2020, suggesting this effect was most pronounced in younger age-groups, probably due to the shutdown of hospitality-based industries. Domestic violence-related injuries increased in 2020, highlighting the need to maintain resources to provide support in such cases at subspecialty hand units, which are often largely outpatient-centred. This study, therefore, identified a number of key areas that could be targeted in the event of future lockdowns, including messages regarding safe DIY activities, and more stringent requirements regarding worksite briefing and safety for people commencing labour-based jobs, especially if transferring from another industry. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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