Sexuality, sexual health and older people: A systematic review of research on the knowledge and attitudes of health professionals Academic Article uri icon


  • Sexuality remains important to older people and should be recognised as an important part of their overall care. However, this appears to be poorly understood and addressed by many healthcare professionals. This systematic review reports on knowledge and attitudes of health professionals towards sexuality and sexual health of older people, including factors that impact knowledge and perceptions.The review, conducted using Joanna Briggs Institute methods, included 23 studies of varied methodology published between January 2004 and January 2015.Findings indicated that healthcare professionals often consider older people's sexuality as outside their scope of practice and there is lack of knowledge and confidence in this area. Cultural norms and taboos, length of time spent working with older people, familiarity with the older person, previous training and degree of exposure to people who are not heterosexual were all identified as factors that impact knowledge and attitude.Better role modelling and education are needed to improve knowledge and attitudes toward later life sexuality.

publication date

  • 2016