Sexuality after stroke: an exploration of current professional approaches, barriers to providing support and future directions

Journal article


Richards, A., Dean, R., Burgess, J. and Caird, H. 2016. Sexuality after stroke: an exploration of current professional approaches, barriers to providing support and future directions. Disability and Rehabilitation. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2015.1106595
AuthorsRichards, A., Dean, R., Burgess, J. and Caird, H.
Abstract

Purpose Sexual difficulties post-stroke are common, yet frequently neglected within rehabilitation.

This study aimed to explore the process by which healthcare professionals approach and work with the topic of sexuality within stroke rehabilitation. Method Ten participants were recruited from 5 community and inpatient multi-disciplinary stroke rehabilitation teams. Semi-structured interviews were carried out and data were analysed using grounded theory methodology.

Results: The authors developed a theoretical model of how professionals engage with sexual concerns. Professionals' own personal level of comfort with the topic of sexuality interacted with a series of barriers to limit opportunities for engagement. These barriers included factors relating to the context and workplace environment of stroke rehabilitation, professionals' perceptions that they did not have adequate skills in this area and unhelpful attitudes towards stroke survivors and sexuality. Although the majority of participants rarely engaged with sexual issues, they adopted both direct and indirect strategies for engaging with their service users' sexual concerns. Concerns were usually addressed through the provision of information and supportive conversations.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that sexuality is not a legitimised topic within stroke rehabilitation, and current work practises limit professionals' abilities to address service-users' concerns. Implications for developing effective training and staff support are discussed. Implications for rehabilitation Professionals working within stroke rehabilitation rarely directly bring up sexuality with patients, but an indirect method of approaching the topic is more common. Addressing sexual concerns often does not require expertise. Training should show professionals how to use transferable knowledge to address sexual issues and also enhance communication skills. Sexuality should be incorporated within local stroke policy and procedures, to support professionals in addressing the concerns of their patients and motivate them to act.

KeywordsAcquired brain injury; neurorehabilitation; sexual dysfunction; sexual functioning; staff training
Year2016
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN0963-8288
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2015.1106595
Publication dates
Online04 Jan 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited31 Jul 2019
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/89073/sexuality-after-stroke-an-exploration-of-current-professional-approaches-barriers-to-providing-support-and-future-directions

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