Managing the delicate issue of sexual expression amongst people with dementiaÂ is the focus of a new education resource produced by Griffith UniversityÂ researcher Dr Cindy Jones.
The first resource of its kind and the subject of funding from the Department ofÂ Health and Aging and Queensland Dementia Training and Study Centres (DTSC),Â Sexualities and Dementia: Education Resource for Health Professionals is aimedÂ at assisting health professionals working across care settings.
Based on national and international literature and research by Dr Jones fromÂ Griffithâ€™s Centre for Health Practice Innovation, the free eLearning resourceÂ aims to increase awareness of intimacy, sexualities and sexual behavioursÂ specific to people with dementia and to guide their carers on how to better supportÂ them.
First resource of its kind to address the LGBTI community
It is also the first e-learning resource in Australia to include concerns and issuesÂ faced by non-heterosexual people with dementia, including those who identify asÂ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI).
â€œIt became apparent that there was a real gap in the education of healthÂ professionals regarding sexualities and dementia, with no other comprehensiveÂ resource which specifically addresses the needs of this group,â€ says Dr Jones.
â€œOur research revealed that when presented with these challenging situations,Â interventions taken by health professionals are often quite reactive rather thanÂ proactive, with many staff simply not knowing what to do.
â€œThe resource provides a framework to guide the development of policy andÂ guidelines to address issues of sexual expression in care settings. There is also aÂ facilitator guide providing workshop information for which â€˜train the trainerâ€™Â education can be applied.â€
â€œThe important message is that expression of sexuality is a part of life no matterÂ what age we are and that older people with dementia therefore also need to beÂ considered,â€ says Dr Jones.
Meredith Gresham, Senior Dementia Consultant – Research & Design,Â HammondCare was part of the expert panel reviewing the new resource.
â€œThe modules really produced thoughtful discussion. The conclusion points areÂ fabulous. I would like to congratulate Dr Jones on the work,â€ she said.
This resource is available from the National DTSC website
http://dtsc.com.au/new-resource-coming-soon/ as a PDF document to
download, and as a CD-Rom. For inquiries or a hard copy, please contact
Sandra Jeavons on 07 3138 5943 [email protected]