HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Injury surveillance in the Canadian Armed Forces: An environmental scan

Article

Injuries can affect the operational readiness, wellness, and careers of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel. Many injuries are preventable; thus, it is important for the CAF to create a sustainable, accurate, and timely injury surveillance system (ISS) that can be used to describe injury incidence, populations at risk, and other causal factors to effectively direct injury prevention efforts. As a first step in the creation of an ISS, the authors conducted a rapid environmental scan that included a review of both the peer-reviewed scientific literature and publicly available information, along with an internal organization scan, to gather information on ISS facilitators, barriers, recommendations, data sources, and potential injury indicators. The results of this work will be used to plan the next steps in the development and implementation of the CAF ISS. In addition, this information can be used to facilitate engagement and collaboration with stakeholders and decision makers to ensure that the ISS collects and reports key data needed to target and prioritize interventions most likely to have the greatest impact on reducing injuries and improving the health and operational readiness of CAF personnel.

Abstract

Introduction: Reducing preventable injuries in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is important to optimize force operational readiness and the wellness and career progression of individuals. At present, timely and accurate CAF injury data have limited availability. The implementation of a comprehensive injury surveillance system (ISS) would allow for the provision of ongoing, reliable injury data that could be used to quantify the burden of injuries, identify risk factors, and assist with the development and evaluation of injury prevention programs and policies. Methods: This environmental scan included 1) a review of the published scientific peer-reviewed and unpublished grey literature for both civilian and military populations, 2) a review of key injury surveillance documents from leading health organizations, and 3) a Department of National Defence (DND) internal scan that included both a review of internal documents and consultations with DND stakeholders. Results: Numerous facilitators, barriers, and recommendations were identified through the environmental scan. Recommendations that emerged were centred on the following themes: ensuring adequate resources to develop and implement an ISS, assessing and maintaining data quality, engaging key stakeholders in identifying priority areas, and providing the data decision makers require to design, implement, and evaluate effective injury prevention initiatives. Discussion: This environmental scan is the first step in developing a comprehensive CAF ISS. Numerous facilitators, barriers, and recommendations were identified for consideration for the first phase of system development. Engagement of key stakeholders and decision makers will be critical to determine priority areas, key injury indicators, and reporting mechanisms.

Full Reference

Injury surveillance in the Canadian Armed Forces: An environmental scan, 2022. Tessier, François, Dubiniecki, Christine, and Carew, Maureen. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 0 0:0