Recreational Drowning Prevention Interventions for Adults, 1990-2012: A Review.
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Drowning is a frequently occurring and preventable public health issue. Internationally, drowning literature has focussed on children under 5 years, however, evidence based interventions to prevent adult drowning are needed to reduce deaths on a global scale. The aim of this paper is to systematically identify and analyse the evidence for drowning interventions with an adult focus. A systematic search was undertaken for peer-reviewed articles which were published in English between 1990 and 2012, focused on adults and described a drowning intervention. After quality appraisal by expert reviewers using a purposively tailored checklist, a final total of six studies were included for review. The six studies were all conducted in high income countries. Four were drowning interventions, two were retrospective analyses. The drowning interventions duration ranged from 10 days to 5 years, the analysis studies from 6 to 21 years. Two of the studies reviewed used behaviour change theory to inform development, and two reported formative evaluation. Prevention strategies included education (n = 3), technology (n = 1) and environmental (n = 1). Positive short term effects and significant behaviour change in life jacket use was reported (n = 2). A mixed effect was observed in the six studies. The complexity of the issues surrounding drowning requires the collection of robust data and evaluation of preventative measures to support the development of targeted and tailored prevention interventions. This review reinforces the need for a genuine and sustained global approach to addressing adult drowning prevention. Drowning is a serious public health issue and should receive the same attention as other public health priorities .
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