Australia’s Polio Health and Wellness Retreats

Tell me, and I will forget.
Show me, and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand.

Confucius

 

Post-polio wellness retreats provide an opportunity to:

  • renew the mind, body and spirit
  • have post-polio questions answered by unhurried medical experts
  • spend custom-designed days enjoying recreational activities
  • learn more about how to stay strong and healthy

Moving several steps beyond re-rehabilitation, retreats offer ongoing wellness approaches that promise to improve overall health and quality of life. Important resources include a comfortable location that provides accessible accommodations (accessible natural beauty is a real plus), a committed sponsoring and organizing organization(s), and knowledgeable professionals willing to volunteer time and expertise.

The tradition of spending time away from home and a daily routine to learn new behaviors is not a new idea. It is common in many countries.

Post-Polio Health International

In April 2010 Polio Australia with input from Polio NSW conducted Australia’s first three day Polio Health and Wellness Self-Management Residential (also known as a Polio Health and Wellness Retreat) in New South Wales. The program was based on a proven successful international model with the purpose of providing a holistic approach to managing the late effects of polio and finding life balance. The Australian chronic condition self-management program has now been successfully conducted in:

Each day of the residential focuses on a different aspect of health and wellness: Body, Mind and Spirit. A number of health professionals familiar with the issues associated with LEOP are involved in facilitating question and answer forums which enable a broad spectrum of concerns to be raised within a group of people with similar conditions. The success of this format lies in people discussing their own experiences of what works, supported by the knowledge and expertise of the respective health professionals.

We are extremely grateful to the different state session facilitators for sharing their expertise since 2010, especially as the majority of these presenters provided their time and knowledge at no charge.

Steve Maccagnan of Moving Planet Productions generously donated his time and expertise to film a variety of the NSW Retreat activities and interviews over a two day period. The short video extract above (5 mins 18 secs) provides a glimpse of the Retreat highlights.

Polio Australia’s vision is to ensure that all polio survivors have access to adequate support and information together with comprehensive, consistent health care from a range of well-informed and educated professionals. The fact is that to date we have no guaranteed funding to achieve these aims although we continue to explore every funding avenue.

The Retreats so far held by Polio Australia show what can be done with volunteer labour, a lot of good will and a small purse. Sufficient funding would ensure that these Retreats can continue to be facilitated across Australia in order to inform and educate a growing number of Australia’s tens of thousands of polio survivors, their carers, and the health professionals who work with them how to effectively manage the late effects of polio.