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Healthcare Professionals’ and Patients’ Views of Discussing Sexual Well-being Poststroke

Fox, Siobhan, BA, PhD1; Antony, Reema M., BSc, RN1; Foley, Mary J., RGN, RNP, RANP, MSc2; O’Sullivan, Dawn, RN, RNT, BSc, Nurs, MSc1; Timmons, Suzanne, MD, MB, BCh, BAO, MSc1

doi: 10.1097/rnj.0000000000000144
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Purpose Stroke can cause physical and emotional problems affecting sexual well-being; healthcare professionals (HCPs) are often uncomfortable discussing this topic with patients. We explored the perspectives of HCPs and stroke survivors about barriers to discussing sexual well-being poststroke.

Design A mixed methodology was employed.

Methods A postal survey of stroke survivors (n = 50), a focus group with HCPs on a stroke unit (n = 6), and a focus group with community-living stroke survivors (n = 6) were used in this study. Focus group data were analyzed thematically.

Findings No patient surveyed (60% response rate) had discussed sexual well-being with an HCP. Focus groups revealed barriers on multiple levels: structural, HCP, patient, and professional–patient interface.

Conclusions Healthcare professionals were poorly trained, adopted a passive role, and addressed sexual activity based on individual beliefs rather than having an agreed team approach.

Clinical Relevance Relatively simple steps like inclusion in policy, training to empower HCPs, and the provision of written information for patients could help to improve practice.

1 Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University College Cork, Ireland

2 Assessment and Treatment Centre, St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork, Ireland

Correspondence: Siobhan Fox, BA PhD, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Block 13, St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork, Ireland, T12XH60. E-mail:

Cite this article as: Fox, S., Antony, R. M., Foley, M. J., O’Sullivan, D., & Timmons, S. (2018). Healthcare professionals’ and patients’ views of discussing sexual well-being poststroke. Rehabilitation Nursing, 00(0), 00–00. doi:10.1097/rnj.0000000000000144

© 2019 Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
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