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Rehabil Nurs. 1999 Jul-Aug;24(4):148-51.

Identifying and overcoming barriers to providing sexuality information in the clinical setting.

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Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, Community Integration of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


While the scope of the clinician-patient relationship in rehabilitation includes the opportunity to provide information on sexuality, all too often this does not occur. This article identifies barriers to providing information on sexuality and makes suggestions for overcoming them. At a preconference workshop, "Sexuality After Spinal Cord Injury: Understanding the Effects of Knowledge and Attitude on Dissemination Practices," held during the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses 22nd Annual Educational Conference, participants explored barriers to providing sexuality information to their patients and ways for nurse managers and staff members to ameliorate their own discomfort and that of their patients. The barriers identified included lack of time, lack of knowledge, personal attitudes about sexuality, and patient lack of readiness. Approaches that can improve the comfort levels of nurse managers and staff include using educational films and written materials, conducting role playing to explore typical patient questions, and initiating conversation about sexuality with patients. Participants' suggestions for increasing patient comfort level included adopting an open and nonjudgmental listening mode, distinguishing between the physical and emotional aspects of sexual issues, and promoting peer counseling.

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