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Health Expect. 2015 Oct;18(5):715-26. doi: 10.1111/hex.12152. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

Polio survivors' perceptions of the meaning of quality of life and strategies used to promote participation in everyday activities.

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Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK.



The term 'post-polio syndrome' (PPS) is used to describe new and late manifestations of poliomyelitis that occur later in life. Research in this area has focused upon health status rather than its effect on quality of life.


To gain an in-depth understanding of the meaning of quality of life for polio survivors and to determine the type of strategies that are used by people with PPS and the support that they consider as important to facilitate participation in everyday life activities that have an impact on their quality of life.


Six focus groups were conducted with 51 participants from two regions in England. Data were audio-taped and analysed using thematic analysis.


Our research found that polio survivors used terms used to describe quality of life which could be associated with that of happiness. Our research has identified resolvable factors that influence quality of life namely inaccessible environments, attitudes of health-care professionals and societal attitudes. Polio survivors have tried alternative therapies, chiefly acupuncture and massage, and found them to be effective in enhancing their quality of life.


It is suggested that health-care professionals should consider factors which influence happiness and implement a person-centred approach with the views of the polio survivor being listened to. The three factors that influenced quality of life could be resolved by health-care professionals and by society. With regard to strategies used, we suggest that polio survivors should have access to the treatments that they perceive as important, although further research is required to design optimal interventions for this client group.


interventions; participation; polio; quality of life

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