Purpose: To investigate outdoor mobility of immigrants in Sweden who are living with the late effects of polio.
Materials and methods: A total of 145 patients with late effects of polio born outside the Nordic region were identified at an outpatient polio clinic. Of these, 74 completed a questionnaire about their mobility and independence in daily life, self-perceived pain and depression, vocational status, mobility assistive devices/aids, transportation modes and driving. Patient characteristics were based on medical records supplied by physicians.
Results: Twice as many patients had lower extremities that were affected by polio than upper extremities. This affected their use of different transport modes and caused mobility and transfer problems. Indeed, 39% needed mobility aids and help from another person to move outdoors. Those who reported dependence for outdoor mobility were more often unemployed and more often depressed.
Conclusions: Many respondents reported having difficulties with transport mobility, but a large proportion, 57%, were independent and active drivers. It is important to consider outdoor mobility when planning rehabilitation for patients with late effects of polio and foreign backgrounds. In addition to psychosocial factors, dependence on mobility-related activities can lead to dependency and isolation.