Occupational therapists' perspectives on addressing sexual concerns of older adults in the context of rehabilitation

ArticleinDisability and Rehabilitation · June 2013with195 Reads
DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2013.805823
To explore occupational therapists’ perspectives on addressing sexuality in the context of rehabilitation services for older people. Method: A qualitative exploratory design was used. Data were collected using a series of focus groups (n = 5) among occupational therapists (n = 22) working with older people. Data were analysed using content analysis. Results: Occupational therapists in this study rarely addressed sexuality in the context of rehabilitation services for older people. Three major categories emerged in relation to barriers which influence therapists’ practice in this area: (i) the influence of culture on decisions regarding whether or not to address sexuality, (ii) perceived competence and confidence to address sexuality and (iii) the impact of resources regarding the inclusion or exclusion of sexuality from rehabilitation. Conclusions: Although sexuality is increasingly considered an important and relevant aspect of successful ageing the extent to which healthcare professionals are prepared to address sexual concerns identified by older people is less clear. If new expectations of healthy ageing are to be met, healthcare professionals must acknowledge the importance of sexuality and be prepared to be involved in sexual health management.Implications for Rehabilitation Healthcare professionals continue to be reluctant to respond to older peoples’ concerns relating to sexuality. Occupational therapists in Ireland identified socio-cultural norms relating to sexuality, perceived professional competence and confidence and prioritization of resources as key barriers. Education is needed to improve therapists’ perceived competence and confidence in addressing sexuality with older adults. Policy change is required to consider the underlying assumptions about sexuality, ageing and disability.
    • "Downloaded by [for health care professionals when addressing sexual issues with patients (Krebs, 2007; McGrath & Lynch, 2014; Sung et al., 2015; Tsimtsiou et al., 2006). Those issues address the importance of ensuring that future health care professionals have sufficient knowledge and competence concerning sexual health. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: To test the reliability and validity of the Students' Attitudes Towards Addressing Sexual Health questionnaire (SA-SH), measuring students' attitudes towards addressing sexual health in their future professions.Method: A cross-sectional online survey (22 items) were distributed to 186 nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy students in Sweden, April 2015. Validity and reliability were tested.Results: The construct validity analysis led to three major factors: present feelings of comfortableness, future working environment and fear of negative influence on future patient relations. The construct validity, internal consistency reliability and intrarater reliability showed good results.Conclusion: The SA-SH is valid and reliable.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2016
    • "There are several reasons why health care professionals avoid communicating with their patients about sexual health, including embarrassment, personal discomfort, lack of time, privacy and competence [3– 7]. Other reasons might be personal sexual attitudes and level of previous communicative training in addressing sexual issues with patients [3,[5][6][7][8][9]. Personal attitudes and beliefs can be especially important for sexual health competency, because personal factors may be infused with biases that inform practice, and education may not provide experiences adequate to warrant competency [7]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to explore differences and similarities in health care students’ attitudes towards working with and communicating with patients about sexual health issues in their future professions. The aim was also to explore whether the students’ gender, age and future professions were influencing factors and whether there was a change in attitude depending on educational levels, gender, age and future professions. The study also aimed to explore the potential development of those differences and similarities in attitudes between health care students having achieved different levels of education and training in their future professions. A cross-sectional quantitative study was performed with an online survey distributed to nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy students. The students believed that they needed increased sexual health education and increased communication skills about sexual health. Gender and future profession are factors that significantly affect the attitudes of the students towards working with sexual health. Nursing and occupational therapy students have a more positive attitude towards addressing sexual health in their future professions than do physiotherapy students. Further research is needed in this field to improve competence in sexual health for all student groups, particularly physiotherapy students. Further research is also needed to explore the significance of gender regarding education in sexual health and attitudes towards working with sexual health.
    Article · May 2016
    • "Occupational therapists should consider their own attitudes and beliefs regarding sexuality and determine the extent to which they feel prepared to address sexuality in practice. Research has indicated that occupational therapists feel ill prepared to address sexuality (Couldrick, 1998; Hyland & Mc Grath, 2013; McGrath & Lynch, 2014; Penna & Sheehy, 2000) and that there is a need to consider how therapists' confidence in addressing sexuality might be developed. The majority of reported training (e.g., Higgins et al., 2012 ) has relied on the use of the PLISSIT model developed by Annon (1976), which describes four levels of involvement by health care professionals in addressing sexual wellbeing: permission (P), limited information (LI), specific suggestions (SS), and intensive therapy (IT). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite recognition of the rights of disabled people to sexuality, occupational therapists continue to fail to address sexuality in practice. This failure can be understood as a consequence of social discourses relating to sexuality and disability and a professional discourse that values certain occupations over others. Given the importance of sexuality to the human experience and the evidence of the link between opportunity for sexual expression and well being, there is a need for occupational therapists to change their practice in relation to sexuality and disability. One method of achieving this change may be to adopt a rights-based approach to sexuality and disability. The possibilities offered by such an approach are presented in this article. Implications for occupational therapy practitioners are discussed and suggestions for future actions to ensure that the rights of disabled people to sexuality are embedded in occupational therapy practice are proposed.
    Article · Mar 2015
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