Healthcare professional perceived barriers and facilitators to discussing sexual wellbeing with patients after diagnosis of chronic illness: A mixed-methods evidence synthesis

Sean O'Connor, John Connaghan, Roma Maguire , Grigorios Kotronoulas, Carrie Flannagan, Suniel Jain , Nuala Brady, Eilis McCaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objectives: To explore healthcare professional perceived barriers and facilitators to discussing sexual health and wellbeing with patients after diagnosis of chronic illness. Methods: Five databases were searched and included data were synthesised using a meta-ethnographic approach. Confidence in findings was assessed using the GRADE-CERQual framework. Searches, extraction and quality assessment procedures were conducted independently by at least two authors. Results: Concepts extracted from 30 included studies were used to develop a conceptual framework based on five overarching themes. These were [1] individual and societal attitudes to sex and sexual wellbeing [2], patient specific factors [3], organizational and professional factors [4], strategies to overcome barriers in practice and [5] perceived training needs. Healthcare professionals acknowledged the importance of discussing and providing support for sexual wellbeing needs, but recognized it is not routinely provided. Conclusions: While patient specific factors and organizational issues such as lack of time were frequently identified as barriers, intra-personal and social perceptions appear to have the strongest influence on healthcare professional perspectives. Practice implications: Brief education and tools to support healthcare professionals to have effective conversations with patients are required. These should address social barriers, normalise sexual issues, and support healthcare professionals to initiate discussions around sexual concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)850-863
Number of pages14
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume102
Issue number5
Early online date13 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Sexual wellbeing
  • Quality of life
  • Chronic illness

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