Post Polio Syndrome: The Australian Experience is a film produced in 2005 by Polio Network Victoria.  The film documents the search by 6 polio survivors for information and treatments for their symptoms of post-polio syndrome.

The aim of the film is to explain post-polio syndrome and the other late effects of polio as well as the resources and strategies available to people with these problems. The film provides useful background information for health practitioners as it gives an excellent account of the condition and of the treatments available. Quite often health practitioners are unaware of treatments that other health professions can provide.

A polio survivor recently diagnosed with post-polio problems will find the film very informative as much is said about what survivors can do in order to continue living a fulfilling life. The more knowledgeable polio survivor will find it a useful revision of what help is available now and if new symptoms occur. The DVD would be a valuable addition to local libraries. Frequently polio survivors newly experiencing post-polio symptoms are hesitant to approach their GPs and even when they do the information they receive is frequently sparse and sometimes inaccurate. The film could also be a very effective way to explain PPS to relatives and friends.

The tone of the film is positive and optimistic as we follow the lives of six Victorian survivors. The film plot begins with a group of survivors chatting over coffee as they assign each other the tasks of investigating what help six health professions can provide to people experiencing late effects of polio. In the course of their journeys we learn about the polio histories of these people and how they maintain rewarding life styles. Lyn, who experiences profound fatigue and now needs to use a wheelchair, interviews neurologist and rehabilitation specialist Dr Stephen de Graaff. Tricia visits a physiotherapist who is experienced in treating polio survivors. An occupational therapist evaluates Pauline’s home and suggests changes that would make her life easier. Karim, a young survivor from Ethiopia, has a brace fitted by an orthotist. Mary is polio quadriplegic who lives alone and is employed. She is able to live independently with the help of attendant carers and nocturnal ventilation. She is visited by a nurse specialist who explains her respiratory care. Beth is experiencing speech and swallowing difficulties. Her speech therapist describes ways of diagnosing and dealing with such problems. The benefits of services such as TADVIC (Technical Aid for the Disabled), the Independent Living Centre and post-polio support groups are also discussed.

These interviews are followed by a clip of Dr Richard Bruno discussing his 10 commandments for polio survivors. These are useful rules for attaining and maintaining quality of life.

In the final segment of the film Dr de Graaff gives a detailed explanation of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of post-polio problems. Overall the film lasts for about an hour.

Review by Dr Mary Westbrook, Network News, Issue 70, April 2005 published by Post-Polio Network (NSW)

Return to  Index of Post-Polio Syndrome: The Australian Experience segments