presented by Donald Kautz
This course is designed for therapists (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, recreational therapists) and nurses to help when patients and/or patients' loved ones ask you questions about their sexual function. The focus of this course is on patients who are living at home, but the information can be used for patients who are in acute, long-term, and other inpatient rehabilitation settings. This course will provide detailed information for the provider about common sexual and intimacy problems that patients experience, how to appropriately respond to questions, and how to find reliable patient information to give to patients and those they love.
Donald D. Kautz earned his BSN from the University of Northern Colorado, and his MSN and PhD in Nursing from the University of Kentucky. Don worked in many areas of Rehabilitation Nursing, including acute inpatient rehab on spinal cord, head injury, stroke, and general rehab units. He worked as a staff nurse in a pain clinic, outpatient clinics, and home health. In addition, he worked as a rehab unit nurse manager, and a neuroscience and rehabilitation clinical nurse specialist. For the last 20 years, Don taught nursing in ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, and MSN in Education programs. He has presented at over 100 local, state, regional, national, and international nursing conferences, and co-authored over 100 publications. Don retired in December 2016.
Therapists and nurses may be caught off guard when a patient or one of the patient’s loved ones asks: “Can I have sex?” or “Will I be able to love again?” or “How can anyone love me like this?” This chapter will provide options that healthcare providers can use to ensure that the patient’s questions and concerns are answered and their dignity is preserved.
This chapter presents common sexual function and sexual relationship changes that occur with various disabilities. Although the underlying cause may vary, changes are often quite similar between diseases. For example, fatigue and loss of desire occur with most disabilities and chronic illnesses, and the suggestions that a health care provider can give to help patients may work regardless of the underlying cause.
At all ages, being healthy promotes sex and intimacy. The “first line of treatment” for erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, loss of desire, and fatigue include healthy eating, maintaining an ideal body weight (losing weight), stopping smoking, and regular aerobic exercise.
Pamphlets, videos, and websites have been developed specifically for those with various disabilities and chronic illnesses. This chapter provides a list of up-to-date resources for patients and their partners, and describes how nurses can incorporate the use of these resources into their practice.