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Med Sci Law. 2015 Jan;55(1):6-10. doi: 10.1177/0025802413518318. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Chaperones for intimate examinations in family medicine: findings from a pilot study in Melbourne, Australia.

Author information

1
Monash University, Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Peninsula Campus, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
2
Monash University, Notting Hill, Victoria, Australia.
3
University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, United Kingdom o.vanhecke@dundee.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The use of medical chaperones during clinical examinations is important whether one practises as a specialist, nurse, medical student or generalist. Chaperone use in general practice remains largely unknown in most countries across the world and, what is known is limited to a handful of countries. Their use in Australian general practice remains unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To explore the attitudes and practices of a cohort of general practitioners in urban Melbourne regarding the use of chaperones in their daily clinical practice.

METHODS:

Self-administered postal questionnaire to pilot group of general practitioners in urban Melbourne, Australia.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Frequency of chaperone use; views on chaperone use itself; preferred choice for the role of chaperone; main reasons for using chaperones.

RESULTS:

The majority (95% respondents) had never or occasionally used a chaperone. The use of chaperones correlated with general practitioner gender - male general practitioners were more likely to use a chaperone. General practitioners preferred choice as chaperone was the practice nurse. There was no association found between chaperone use and the respondents' age, practice size or the availability of a practice nurse. The most highly rated influence by general practitioners for using a chaperone was because of anticipated patient embarrassment and/or distress.

CONCLUSION:

This is the first step in understanding attitudes and experiences of general practitioners in general practice in Australia. The results of a larger, national study would provide further insight into this important issue taking into account the realities of general practice in Australia and relationship between general practitioners and patients.

KEYWORDS:

general practice; intimate examination; medical chaperone

PMID:
24477199
DOI:
10.1177/0025802413518318
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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