The purpose of the pilot workshop was to determine the level of knowledge amongst health professionals about the Late Effects of Polio (LEoP) and Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS). For example, it is not widely known that polio survivors form the largest, single, physical disability group in Australia.
Polio Australia challenged potential participants that if they did not know how to recognise polio’s late effects and/or assist their post-polio client to manage their chronic condition, then this workshop was for them.
Facilitated by Polio Australia, the interactive workshop explained LEoP and PPS and explored practical strategies to help participants’ post-polio clients to stabilise and improve their symptoms.
The presenters were:
Dr Stephen de Graaff, Senior Rehabilitation Physician and Director of Pain Services, Epworth Healthcare
Dr de Graaff has been diagnosing PPS and working with post-polio patients since 1995. He provided a general introduction to the Late Effects of Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome including symptoms, diagnosis, cause, incidence, treatment options and current research.
Louise Thomas, Senior Physiotherapist, NeuroMuscular-Orthotics
Louise previously managed Polio Services Victoria at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, and continues to consult with post-polio clients at NeuroMuscular-Orthotics.
She presented practical strategies used by physiotherapists, orthotists, and various other allied health professionals to address key concerns such as managing pain and fatigue, and help with stability and avoiding falls.
Louise has generously made her presentation available for download (PDF File Size: 4.2 MB).
Natasha Layton, Occupational Therapist
Natasha specialises in assistive technology and environmental interventions. She has worked with diverse populations in rehabilitation and community settings over the last 20 years. Natasha’s research area is the use and outcomes of assistive technology and other enablers, and she works collaboratively with Victoria’s Aids and Equipment Action Alliance conducting inclusive research in this field. The recent Equipping Inclusion Studies (Layton, Wilson, Colgan, Moodie and Carter 2010) included a number of individuals living with post-polio. Natasha previously worked with the Independent Living Centre and took participants on a tour of the ILC to demonstrate AT that works for polio survivors.
Mary-ann Liethof, National Program Manager, Polio Australia
Mary-ann has worked with the post-polio community since 2004 and currently facilitates annual Polio Health & Wellness Retreats for up to 70 polio survivors and their family member/carers in various states. She provided an overview of the role of Polio Australia, including support services available.
The evaluation form and report on the pilot workshop, together with the results from a concurrent survey that Polio Australia conducted amongst health professionals to gauge their need for more training in post-polio care, can be downloaded below.