Quality patient care-the polio survivor’s perspective

Abstract of PPV’s conference paper presented at the Australasian Pacific Post Polio Conference September 2016

Polio requires the person to spend considerable time and effort to obtain the information they require enabling them to adapt to the challenges of living with the condition of post polio. However, this knowledge and expertise is rarely used for the planning and provision of polio healthcare.

For example, the risks for patients with a history of polio admitted to hospital for surgery are well documented (Lambert DA, Giannouli E, Schmidt, BJ 2005;103:638-44). Despite this knowledge, the onus is on the patient to inform the hospital of their polio history, its effects and treatment implications. Brochures designed for the post polio patient to give to the surgeon and anaesthetist, are available through most polio support organizations but patients are not always aware of this. Even when armed with the brochure and other information, doctors vary in their receptiveness to information provided by patients.

Post Polio Victoria (PPV) is advocating for improvements, which will reduce medical complications and encourage greater patient engagement with rehabilitation programs.

PPV’s research has drawn on current literature as well as anecdotal evidence from PPV members. As a result we have identified five crucial areas that require health care improvements. This paper will identify these and make recommendations for how they could be addressed, complications avoided and recovery improved.

These areas are

  • polio appropriate respiratory testing,
  • relevant hospital protocols,
  • the use of a collaborative model of rehabilitative care,
  • improved polio awareness by doctors and allied health professionals and
  • ensuring adequate funding for older people living with post polio (while the those under 65 will be catered for under NDIS).