Sexuality & dementia: An eLearning resource to improve knowledge and attitudes of aged-care staff

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Jones, Cindy
Moyle, Wendy
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2016
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Abstract

Expression of sexuality by older people, particularly those with dementia, can be challenging and confronting for aged-care staff. Education on this topic is often a low priority area for aged-care organizations, and there appears to be limited training programs available. Results from our study highlighted the value of an eLearning education intervention that significantly increased aged-care staff and nursing students’ level of knowledge relating to older people’s sexuality. It also improved their attitudes and permissiveness towards late life sexuality and the expression of sexuality by people with dementia. Furthermore, respondents reported the importance of existing workplace policy (if any) on the expression of sexuality, the overall signs of wellbeing and ill-being exhibited by people with dementia, and the need for guided discussions with family members. Significant improvements in staff understanding and response towards the expression of sexuality by people with dementia may enable the facilitation of a care environment that is supportive of the verbalization and expression of sexual preference, need, and desire by people with dementia. This can, in turn, improve quality of life, health, and wellbeing for people with dementia as well as reduce potential tensions between staff-resident-family when sexual expression is considered to be inappropriate.

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Educational Gerontology

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42

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8

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Clinical and health psychology

Education systems

Education systems not elsewhere classified

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