The Post-Polio Clinic
If you have had polio and you think you may suffer from post-polio syndrome (PPS), you should talk to your family doctor about it. If your family doctor is not aware of PPS, order our free booklets for him/her.
If you are still not satisfied or if your health has significantly decreased, you may wish to contact polio specialists. There is only one post-polio clinic in Canada, and it is located in Montreal. It’s the Post-Polio Clinic of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.
Montreal Neurological Institut and Hospital
3801, University Avenue
Tel: (514) 398-8911
Fax : (514) 398-2745
Dr Daria A. Trojan, MD, Director
Dr Diane Diorio, MD, Neurology
For more information or to make an appointment, contact Danielle Lafleur (secretary) at (514) 398-8911.
Please, note that if you want to have an appointment at the Post-Polio Clinic, you will first need to have a referral from your doctor.
About the Post-Polio Clinic
As the Post-Polio Clinic of the Montreal Neurological Institut and Hospital is the only one in Canada, you sometimes have to wait a few months before your appointment. To help you determine if it is better for you to go to the Post-Polio Clinic or not, Dre Trojan, physiatrist and Director at the Post-Polio Clinic, accepted to answer our questions.
Who should consult the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital Post-Polio Clinic ?
Dr Trojan: Individuals with previous polio can come to the Post-Polio Clinic, with a request for consultation from another physician, preferably their family physician. Individuals can come whether or not they are having new difficulties related to previous polio, however most patients who come are having new difficulties. Patients come here for evaluation of their difficulties and to help learn how to best manage their symptoms. If they are having no new symptoms, but have weakness related to previous polio, we can also evaluate them and recommend preventative measures as necessary.
Is it important that these people go to the clinic or can they manage their life symptoms by themselves?
Dr Trojan: This is a personal decision for each individual and can be discussed with their family physician. If there are new difficulties related to previous polio, it is recommended to have an evaluation by a physician and not to self-diagnose. The main symptoms of post-polio syndrome (new weakness, fatigue, and pain) can be due to many other conditions and not necessarily post-polio syndrome. Fatigue, for example, is very common even in the general population and can be due to a variety of causes (such as anemia, thyroid difficulties, obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea, etc). Because there is no specific diagnostic test for post-polio syndrome, any new symptoms require an evaluation for potential causes. Some of which may be treatable.
What should they expect from a first appointment at the clinic?
Dr Trojan: At the time of the first appointment, the patient is first evaluated by one of the two Clinic physicians, Dr. Diane Diorio, Neurologist, or me, Dr. Daria Trojan, Physiatrist. The physician usually requests some investigations such as blood tests (can be done the same day at the MontrealNeurological Hospital), X-rays, CT or MRI scans, pulmonary function tests, electromyography studies, sleep studies, or bone densitometries.
Patients may require only one or a few of these investigations. Most of the investigations mentioned (except blood tests) are done at a different time, and many of them can be done in the patient’s local area, if possible, especially if the patient comes from far away. Patients can also be referred to other specialists or health care professionals, as necessary, including Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists, Endocrinology, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Psychology, orthotists (for bracing), dieticians, and social workers. These appointments are on a different day, and not the same day as the first Clinic appointment.
Many patients are also referred to Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy at the time of the first appointment. Some patients are seen by therapists at our hospital. Patients can also be referred to therapists outside our hospital such as at their CLSC or a local rehabilitation centre.
Is one meeting enough to obtain help for people living far from Montreal, or do they have to come at the Clinic many times to be treated?
Dr Trojan: We think that only one meeting can be useful, but it is obviously more difficult for the patients who live in regions. For these patients, we can make recommendations to the referring physician. Patients can return, if that is possible. We follow a number of patients who live far away (such as Jonquiere or Quebec) who come to the Clinic on a yearly basis. For the patients who live closer, we usually see them every 6 to 12 months, depending on the situation.
Looking for a CLSC
CLSC (Centre local de services communautaires) gives essential healthcare through a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers. Also, they offer domestic help and personal care, such as housekeeping, laundry, shopping for groceries, etc… A nurse is available to visit semi-autonomous people in their home.Keep in mind that the CLSC is the entry point in health systems for many services and programs; it directs people to the services they require.
Since 2004, CLSC and CHSLD merged together, often with an hospital complex, to create CSSS (Centre de santé et de services sociaux). CSSS are working to make accessible, continuous and quality services available for the local population.
“You are going to have surgery – A Guide for Polio Survivors”
Even if you are not experiencing new problems, your polio history puts you at greater risk of potential problems during and after surgeries than a person who has not had polio. This guide gives information about the importance to play it safe.
Written by J. M. Walker, PhD, PT, pour le Nova Scotia Polio Survivors Support Group. 1996.
Available online in The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Library.
To read this text, click here.