Supporting residents' expression of sexuality: the initial construction of a sexuality assessment tool for residential aged care facilities Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Sexuality is a key component of quality of life and well-being and a need to express one's sexuality continues into old age. Staff and families in residential aged care facilities often find expressions of sexuality by residents, particularly those living with dementia, challenging and facilities often struggle to address individuals' needs in this area. This paper describes the development of an assessment tool which enables residential aged care facilities to identify how supportive their organisation is of all residents' expression of their sexuality, and thereby improve where required. METHODS: Multi-phase design using qualitative methods and a Delphi technique. Tool items were derived from the literature and verified by qualitative interviews with aged care facility staff, residents and families. The final item pool was confirmed via a reactive Delphi process. RESULTS: A final item pool of sixty-nine items grouped into seven key areas allows facilities to score their compliance with the areas identified as being supportive of older people's expression of their sexuality in a residential aged care environment. CONCLUSIONS: The sexuality assessment tool (SexAT) guides practice to support the normalization of sexuality in aged care homes and assists facilities to identify where enhancements to the environment, policies, procedures and practices, information and education/training are required. The tool also enables facilities to monitor initiatives in these areas over time.

publication date

  • 2014