Organisational enablers and barriers to the recognition of sexuality in aged care: A systematic review Academic Article uri icon


  • AIM:To identify organisational characteristics and practices that promote or inhibit the recognition of sexuality in the care of older people in health and aged care settings. BACKGROUND:Sexuality in old age is poorly understood by health professionals and rarely addressed in care planning and delivery. Nurse managers are ideally placed to lead organisations in promoting a culture of acceptance that enables the expression of sexuality. EVALUATION:A search for research/expert opinion papers published from January 2004 to February 2017 was undertaken. Two reviewers performed data extraction and appraisal of 34 included studies using Joanna Briggs Institute tools. The primarily qualitative research was analysed to identify 152 findings that were organised into 22 categories and combined into four syntheses. KEY ISSUE(S):An organisation's philosophies frame the way older people's sexuality is perceived. Cultivating a culture and environment of acceptance, engagement and knowledge and delivering care in a way that promotes opportunity for safe and private expression of sexuality are key enabling factors. CONCLUSION(S):Organisations and nurse leaders can support and facilitate older adults' expression of their sexuality through the review and development of philosophies, policies, procedures, staff attitudes and knowledge and the creation of a conducive environment. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT:Nurse managers play a pivotal role in developing a sexuality-positive organisational ethos by ensuring policies, care practices, the environment and amenities are supportive of the expression of sexuality and by role modelling attitudes of respect and inclusivity.

publication date

  • 2019