Policy and Practice Change to Support Sexual Expression in Elderly Veterans Living in Veterans Long Term Care Facility

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Katz (2013) states we are sexual beings from birth to death and sexuality is a broad concept that includes one's personal, social and cultural identity. Sexual desires do not disappear as one ages rather, it is possible for older adults to maintain their desired level of sexual activity in an accepting environment (Masden, 2012). Despite consensus in the literature which confirms sexual interest of the elderly, very few interventions are in place to facilitate their sexual expression and privacy while living in long term facilities (Wallace, 1992). Lack of updated research denotes the lack of priority given to this taboo subject by society. There are many barriers, including the assumption that the elderly are unattractive and therefore, asexual. Staff members working in long term care facilities often have insufficient knowledge about elderly sexuality and therefore display negative attitudes towards sexual expression the elderly and regard that expression as inappropriate (Walker and Harrington, 2002). Maslow's (1954) hierarchy of needs shows that regardless of age every individual has a need for love, intimacy and companionship. The Resident Centered Care Federal mandate (1990) focuses on quality of life issues with a focus on dignity, privacy and freedom of expressions. The purpose of this evidenced based project was to initiate a practice change through development of a policy that will address the rights of the elderly veterans living in Long Term care facilities right to their expressions of sexuality. Relevant education on sexuality in elderly individuals for staff members to help improve their knowledge and attitudes for this practice change was provided. The organizational policy used to guide acceptable staff members behaviors regarding quality of life issues with a focus on dignity, privacy and freedom of their sexual expressions was developed and implemented.

Last modified
  • 03/27/2024
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