Abstract

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Background
Keywords
Findings
Author
What is already known on this subject?
What does this study add?

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Background

Evidence from various jurisdictions has shown higher rates of injury for Aboriginal compared with non-Aboriginal populations. This study provides an overview of trends in hospitalization injury rates between the Aboriginal and total populations of one Canadian province, British Columbia.

Data and methods

Hospital discharge records from 1986 through 2010 were obtained from linked health care databases maintained by Population Data BC. Crude rates and standardized relative risks of hospitalization due to injury among Aboriginal people, relative to the total population of British Columbia, were calculated. Changes over time among males and females were compared for various types and causes of injury.

Results

Throughout more than two decades, standardized risks of hospitalization for injury decreased among  the Aboriginal and total populations of British Columbia. Larger decreases among the Aboriginal population than among the total population suggest that the gaps are closing. Downward trends in rates were found for most injury categories, and for males and females.

Interpretation

The findings indicate narrowing of the gap in injury rates between the total population of British Columbia and the province’s Aboriginal population.

Keywords

Aboriginal, databases, health services, hospitalization, indigeneous, injury, medical record linkage

Findings

Higher injury mortality and morbidity rates have been documented for indigenous peoples than for the general population in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Similarly, Canadian studies indicate disparities at national and regional levels, including the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, and for children in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Alberta. [Full Text]

Author

M. Anne George (ageorge@mail.ubc.ca) and Mariana Brussoni are with the University of British Columbia and the Child and Family Research Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia. Andrew Jin is an epidemiology research consultant. Christopher E. Lalonde is with the University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia.

What is already known on this subject?

  • Evidence from various jurisdictions has shown higher rates of injury for Aboriginal compared with non-Aboriginal populations.
  • Age- and gender-standardized comparisons between the Aboriginal population and the total population of Canada or a province raise the question of how much of the disparity in injury rates is due to a larger percentage of Aboriginal people residing in northern, rural or remote locations.
  • A study of premature deaths among Status Indians in British Columbia used the province’s universal health care insurance program to identify Aboriginal people by record linkage, based on a combination of insurance premium group, Indian status, and birth and death record notations.

What does this study adds?

  • Using that method, the current analysis provides an overview of trends in hospitalization rates for injury among the Aboriginal and total population of British Columbia from 1986 through 2010.
  • Rates of hospitalization for injury were standardized by age, gender and region of the province, thereby accounting for the effects of northern location and urbanization.
  • Over more than two decades, standardized risks of hospitalization for injury decreased among the Aboriginal and the total population of British Columbia.
  • Larger decreases among the Aboriginal population suggest that gaps are closing.
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