Assessment of the sexuality needs of individuals with psychiatric disability
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Individuals with psychiatric disorders are at risk of experiencing a variety of difficulties related to their sexuality. The objective of the study described here was examination of nursing staff attitudes, assessment of issues related to the sexuality of clients, and assessment of clients' perceptions of their own sexuality needs. The descriptive design included staff survey, client interviews and chart (in-patient record) audits. The setting was a tertiary care provincial psychiatric hospital in Ontario, Canada. One hundred in-patient records were randomly selected for a concurrent chart audit, followed by client interviews. Staff surveys included 68 nurses. Clients were found to be at increased risk for sexual aggression and sexually transmitted diseases. Clients identified learning needs regarding contraception and safe sexual practices. The nurses who completed the staff survey reported high levels of comfort related to clients' sexuality, yet infrequent teaching related to safe sexual practices. Individuals with psychiatric disorders are at increased risk for a number of problems related to sexuality and identify several learning needs. There is also a risk that these needs go unrecognized by nursing staff.
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