News Media Articles:
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Pre-Reading For Occupational Therapists:
  • Appelin, K., Lexell, J., & Månsson Lexell, E. (2014). Occupations that people with late effects of polio perceive difficult to perform. Occupational therapy international, 21(3), 98-107. “For OTs, our study underscores the importance of using assessment tools, such as the COPM, that can capture both the variety and complexity of occupations. By obtaining more detailed information about occupations that people with late effects of polio perceive difficult to perform, this will enable OTs to offer targeted interventions that can facilitate engagement in meaningful and purposeful occupations.”


State of Residence Characteristics of Australian Polio Survivors

M.Jackson M.P.T, B.Ed., Polio Australia, Kew, AUSTRALIA. 2020


Those who survived polio in Australia display heterogenic levels of disability. Later in life, polio survivors can endure a spectrum of symptoms known as the Late Effects of Polio. Heterogeneity within the survivor population is also expected based on their macro environment – state of residence.

This descriptive study serves to identify the similarities and differences between state populations of Australian polio survivors. Three categories were examined, these being: population and representation, aspects of health, and service impressions.


An electronic survey was distributed to Polio Australia’s contact list in December 2019, and was available for two months. 29 mandatory closed-ended questions and three optional open-ended questions were asked in the survey. Data was collated, filtered, and correlated to provide insight on how survivors are positioned as state groups.


POPULATION AND REPRESENTATION: 734 survivors responded to the survey. NSW, QLD, SA, VIC and WA were each represented by over 100 Late Effects of Polio symptomatic polio survivors. ACT, NT and TAS had less than 20 responders each. SA was overrepresented (+10%) compared to Australian state population ratios, while NSW and VIC were underrepresented (-7% each). All states had more (19-79%) metropolitan than regional respondents, except NSW and QLD (1-10% more). SA had a larger proportion of older respondents, with 4 in 5 (81%) being in the 70 to 89 years age bracket (other states had 3 in 5; 60% mean).

ASPECTS OF HEALTH: All states except QLD had ‘no chronic diseases’ as the most frequent chronic disease load. Compared to the Australian population, respondents to this survey had an almost inverse chronic disease profile. WA and the ACT were not biased towards interest in joining support groups, but all other states were. When challenged to change Late Effects of Polio risk variables states shared consistent positions (mean variance +3%), except for TAS which had a willing bias (mean +18%) and the ACT which had an aversion bias (mean -9%).

SERVICE IMPRESSIONS: WA had a 6:1 response ratio identifying doctors causing more care interaction difficulty with Late Effects of Polio care, than allied health professionals. NSW and VIC had the lowest ratio at 2:1 for the same care difficulty sources. TAS (3.3/4 score) was considerably more satisfied than other states (2.5-2.8/4) regarding GPs providing adequate appointment time to address LEoP concerns. Appropriate referrals were closely tied to states’ satisfaction with their GPs. TAS (2.9/4 score) had slightly higher satisfaction levels than other states (2.5-2.7/4). All states but one had a strong bias (41-80%) towards Polio Australia being the provider of the most useful Late Effects of Polio information. WA’s bias (60%) was towards their state polio organization.


Group differences based on polio survivor state of residence are apparent from this survey. This information may be useful for state polio organisations to address contentions and/or needs of their polio survivors. Polio Australia can utilise this information to guide resources and education, and to support states.


1. Australian Bureau of Statistics.

2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

3. Headley, J. (Fall 2014). Post-Polio Medical Care: Post-Polio Specialists and Primary Care Physicians

4. Westbrook, M. (January 1991). Findings of the Polio Survivors and Their Health Survey.

5. British Polio Fellowship General Practitioner Survey.