Sexually speaking: person-centred conversations with people living with a dementia
CPD    

Sexually speaking: person-centred conversations with people living with a dementia

Danuta Lipinska Director, Independent Training Consultant and Facilitator, My Home Life, counsellor and supervisor in private practice, Norwich, England
Hazel Heath Independent Nurse Consultant for Older People, Loughton, Essex, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the importance of supporting the sexuality and sexual expression of people living with a dementia

  • To enhance your awareness of a new person-centred paradigm that can be used when undertaking conversations about sexuality and sexual issues

  • To recognise the issues related to sexual rights and consent that may arise in the care of people living with a dementia

While sexuality is integral to being human and supporting sexual expression is fundamental to delivering person-centred care, many nurses find this area challenging. This is particularly true when working with people living with a dementia, irrespective of their age. However, it can be especially challenging in older adults.

This article aims to support nurses in their work with individuals and couples living with a dementia. After briefly defining the term ‘sexuality’ and acknowledging the effects of the most common types of dementia, the article discusses the importance of person-centred conversations. It details a new person-centred paradigm that can assist nurses to learn about people’s sexuality and sexual wishes. Through enhanced understanding and increased objectivity, nurses can be better equipped to support people to continue living fulfilled sexual lives according to their choices and priorities. The article concludes by summarising the legal and professional context and nursing responsibilities involved in addressing sexuality with people living with a dementia, specifically when mental capacity becomes an issue.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1207

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

hh@hazelheath.co.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Lipinska D, Heath H (2020) Sexually speaking: person-centred conversations with people living with a dementia. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1207

Published online: 04 November 2020

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