Communication about sexual problems in male patients with multiple sclerosis
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Communication about sexual problems in male patients with multiple sclerosis

Rona Rubin Senior lecturer, Department of Allied Health Professions, Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury, Kent

Aim To explore the reasons given by a disability, assessment and rehabilitation team (DART) for perceived difficulties in discussing sexual problems with male patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and to compare them with the views of a sample of patients.

Method Data were gathered from a multidisciplinary team who were responsible for assessment and rehabilitation of patients with MS, using a focus group and semi-structured interviews with 11 male patients. Data were analysed thematically, with reference to Annon’s (1976) model of communication.

Findings Patients felt a need to discuss problems with sexual dysfunction, and would welcome the introduction of the topic in a straightforward way. Health professionals were worried about intrusiveness and lack of information and training. Team members and the patients indicated that nurses are the best people to deal with these issues.

Conclusion Rehabilitation teams need training to deal with patients’ sexual problems, and the nurse is likely to be identified as the specialist in this area.

Nursing Standard. 19, 24, 33-37. doi: 10.7748/ns2005.02.19.24.33.c3809

Correspondence

rr1@cant.ac.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review