Managing the delicate issue of sexual expression amongst people with dementiais the focus of a new education resource produced by Griffith Universityresearcher Dr Cindy Jones.

The first resource of its kind and the subject of funding from the Department ofHealth and Aging and Queensland Dementia Training and Study Centres (DTSC),Sexualities and Dementia: Education Resource for Health Professionals is aimedat assisting health professionals working across care settings.

Based on national and international literature and research by Dr Jones fromGriffith’s Centre for Health Practice Innovation, the free eLearning resourceaims to increase awareness of intimacy, sexualities and sexual behavioursspecific to people with dementia and to guide their carers on how to better supportthem.

First resource of its kind to address the LGBTI community

It is also the first e-learning resource in Australia to include concerns and issuesfaced by non-heterosexual people with dementia, including those who identify aslesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI).

“It became apparent that there was a real gap in the education of healthprofessionals regarding sexualities and dementia, with no other comprehensiveresource which specifically addresses the needs of this group,” says Dr Jones.

“Our research revealed that when presented with these challenging situations,interventions taken by health professionals are often quite reactive rather thanproactive, with many staff simply not knowing what to do.

“The resource provides a framework to guide the development of policy andguidelines to address issues of sexual expression in care settings. There is also afacilitator guide providing workshop information for which ‘train the trainer’education can be applied.”

“The important message is that expression of sexuality is a part of life no matterwhat age we are and that older people with dementia therefore also need to beconsidered,” says Dr Jones.

Meredith Gresham, Senior Dementia Consultant – Research & Design,HammondCare was part of the expert panel reviewing the new resource.

“The modules really produced thoughtful discussion. The conclusion points arefabulous. I would like to congratulate Dr Jones on the work,” she said.

This resource is available from the National DTSC website 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]