Sue Walker

Sue Walker

Guest Blogger at See Full Details
Sue is a Registered Nurse and holds a Masters Degree in Primary Health Care majoring in Palliative Care. Sue has extensive experience both as a clinician, educator, and senior manager in the aged care, mental health, and palliative care settings.
Sue Walker

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“A person’s mobility is closely linked to health status and quality of life (Webber et al. 2010). Mobility scooters are increasingly seen as a lifeline toward independence and emotional wellbeing, particularly for older Australians (ACCC et al. 2012).  The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has today, 8/05/19, released a report on Mobility scooter-related injuries and deaths.

The ACCC defines mobility scooters as ‘three or four wheels attached to a frame supporting a chair and steering wheel’ (ACCC 2019). Mobility scooters offer individuals a transport alternative when faced with limited mobility due to ageing or chronic illness, or while recovering from injury or surgery.” An interesting finding was that it has been assumed that mobility scooters are used by older people but the report found that 51% of users were in the 18 – 59 year age group.

The report covers the period from 2011 – 2016 and identified:

  • The number of pedestrians injured in collisions with mobility scooters was 161
  • Most pedestrians injured were aged 65 and over  – 92 individuals
  • Types of injuries pedestrians sustained
    • Knee, lower leg, ankle, and foot 38%
    • Hip and thigh 19%
    • Abdomen, lower back, lumbar spine, and pelvis 9%
    • Head 12%
    • All other body regions 22%
  • Fractures accounted for 46% of injuries with wounds second at 15%
  • Whilst the number of falls from a mobility scooter is a little difficult to gauge the report identifies that the number of falls from a scooter during this period was 2,477, with 50% of those falls resulting in fractures.
  • Total number of deaths for the period associated with a motor scooter was 69
  • 45 people died because of the scooter crashing into another vehicle

The report is of interest as more people are using a mobility scooter, indeed they are heavily advertised to the older population as a way of maintaining independence. A number of aged care facilities grapple with the safety issue associated with motor scooters in an institutional environment. The report identifies that 8% of the injuries and deaths attributed to motor scooters occurred in residential facilities with a further 11% in the persons home. The report provides evidence that there is a safety issue associated with the use of motor scooters and that the user and those around them need to be aware of this when considering policy creation and equipment education.

To read the full report click here>>