By Emma Power
The Sydney Sexuality Group is a multidisciplinary research team based primarily at the University of Sydney with the aims of facilitating improved outcomes around intimacy and sexuality for people with acquired disabilities, especially stroke and younger stroke survivors. Our prior work includes examining the impact of stroke on female sexuality and clinician’s perspectives of addressing sexuality after stroke with survivors. In our current program, we have conducted a qualitative metasynthesis of the research literature on views of people post-stroke about sexuality that is under review. We are also currently completing a national delphi study to determine what stroke survivors, their partners, clinicians and researchers believe are important components of a post-stroke sexuality education intervention. Our team is committed to including people with communication disabilities in this study as they are often excluded or cannot access research and we have aphasia-friendly versions of our survey in addition to a speech-language pathologist experienced with supported communication to facilitate participation. Our research also looks beyond physical functioning alone to consider the whole person and their context (confidence, family roles and societal expectations). Early next year we will pilot this education program in the inpatient hospital setting. A further component of our research is investigating if there is good evidence in the literature on whether a specific model of care (the PLISSIT model) is an effective step by step approach to guide professionals in addressing sexuality based needs for people with acquired brain injury. Getting the right framework may make actual implementation of our education package more successful to improve outcomes for people post stroke.
Dr Emma Power (Speech-Language Pathologist shown here) on behalf of Dr Margeret McGrath (Occupational Therapist), Sandra Lever (Clinical Nurse Consultant), and Dr Annie McCluskey (Occupational Therapist).