Course teaches healthcare workers about the sexual needs of disabled patients
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Everyone needs information on sexual health, including safer sex practices, the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and how to have a healthy sex life. However, one group of individuals that may not always get important information regarding sex are the physically disabled. Recently, researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College in Ireland found that providing healthcare staff with just a one-day course of training on how to deal with the sexual needs of individuals with an acquired physical disability greatly improved their understanding of how to handle these issues.
In fact, the program was such a success that the scientists are calling for all healthcare providers to receive this training, regardless of their role in a patient's care.
According to the researchers, previous studies have shown that disabled individuals are dissatisfied with the quality of information they are given about how to have a safe and active sex life. Following this training course, the healthcare workers reported that they had a greater understanding of sexual rights and disability, and would feel more comfortable talking to patients who are concerned about their sex lives.
"Patient sexuality is an area that many healthcare practitioners may be reluctant to address or discuss because of embarrassment, particularly when patients have a disability" said researcher Agnes Higgins."Our study suggests that systematic education and training in sexuality leads to statistically significant changes in health care practitioners' knowledge, skills and comfort."
One healthcare worker said that she had a female patient who was incontinent, and she was going to recommend a urinary catheter. However, after taking the sexuality course, she factored in the patient's sex life and realized that the catheter would seriously impact it, so she looked for other treatment options.
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