- Article: Bates J (2011) Broaching sexual health issues with patients. Nursing Times; 107: 48, 20-22.
- Author: Joanne Bates is senior lecturer, Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, University of Chester, Chester.
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- Consider patients’ sexual health needs as part of a holistic approach to care
- Be aware of your own assumptions, beliefs and values
- Use neutral language such as “your partner”
- Consider using the Ex-PLISSIT model of intervention to help open up discussions about sexual health with patients
- Refer patients on for expert help if necessary
Think about your own attitudes towards sexual health and your patients and consider:
- Do you find it difficult to talk about sex? If so, think about why.
- Do you assume your patients are heterosexual?
- Do you make assumptions about the sexual behaviour of your patients? For example, do you think that because they have a long-term illness they are not interested in expressing their sexuality or in having sexual contact?
- If you know a patient’s sexuality, do you make assumptions about how they behave?
- Do you currently consider your patients’ sexuality and/or sexual health needs and if so how?