Sexuality and the Chronically Ill Older Adult: a Social Justice Issue

Topics: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine Pages: 4 (1226 words) Published: March 26, 2011
Journal Article Review # 3
Introduction
‘Sexuality and the chronically III older adult: A social justice issue’ is an article published in Sexuality and Disability in 2000 issue, written by Verna C. Pangman and Marilyn Seguire provides an overview of how primary nurse health care providers who are committed to the delivery of holistic care have a responsibility to assess the elderly and the perceptions of their families regarding the sexuality of the older adults. It briefly discussed invisibility and visibility perspectives of chronically ill older adults as well as misconceptions about sexuality held by society and health professional. The article also provides nursing strategies in the area of education, practice, research, and policy development that can enhance the visibility of sexuality for the elderly who are chronically ill. Summary

Sexuality is a core dimension of life that incorporates notions, beliefs, facts, fantasies, rituals, attitudes, values, and rights with regard to gender identity and role, sexual acts and orientation, and aspects of pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction. Pangman and Seguire points out that sexuality is all that individuals have absorbed from their environment and refers to the totality of being, living harmoniously in relationships with self and others (2000, p.51). They cited Waxman (1996); “sexuality is an important component of health and of personality function throughout the life span.” Sexual satisfactions are important boosters of quality of life and a crucial concern for patients who live with chronic illness. In a life restricted by illness, sex can be a powerful source of comfort, pleasure and intimacy, and an affirmation of gender when other gender roles have been stripped away. For patients with chronic illness, a satisfying sex life is one way of feeling “normal’ when so much else about there lives has changed. The author cited The World Health Organization (1975) defined sexual health as “ the integration...

Cited: by the authors Luketick (1991) proposes that by fostering a respectful, caring learning environment, students can gain more of their own beliefs and values pertaining to sexual health and sexuality. In turn, they will gain an opportunity to increase their awareness of how their own perceptions have evolved (Pangman & Seguire, 2000, p.54). An understanding of these concepts will allow health professional to appreciate older adults varying readiness for sexual expression. Once the subject of sex has been broached, a sexual history can be taken, focusing on the areas of patient concern. Chronic illness can be very frustrating, but health professional can make it very positive difference by providing advice and support in the important areas of sexuality.
Evaluation of Article
This is an interesting article, presenting an overview of sexuality and the chronically ill older adult. After reading this article, a deep insight into understanding that sexual health care is essential component of overall wellness during one’s development lifespan. The nursing strategies provided information in areas of education, practice, research and policy development that will assist elderly in dealing with sexuality. The journal authors provides review of myths regarding sexuality amongst older adult, and how dispelling myths about sexuality can be beneficial when obtaining history in order to enhance their quality of life.
The writers mentions that modern literature regarding older adult sexuality is increasingly available and can be used to guide healthcare professionals discussions with older adults seeking information. Well-designed research is needed to expand knowledge about sexuality in elders. Therefore research or article such as this, will benefit health professional in acquiring an understanding of the role of sexuality for health promotion and maintenance, the knowledge gained will assist the nurse in promoting the quality of life issues for the elderly (Pangman & Seguire, 2000, p.53). Continuing education activities and availability of education materials could assist nurses to adequately address sexual concerns while caring for older adults who are chronically ill.
Conclusion
The ability of older adults to cope with the issues and problems encountered in the course of living with and managing a chronic illness determines the nurse’s role and the type of interventions needed. Recognizing the older adults sexuality and sexual concerns allows adults to participate in their care planning and retain control and dignity. Ongoing support by health care professionals is crucial for patients to find enough strength to continue coping. Nursing research and policy development are complementary avenues whereby sexuality can be made more visible for the older adult who is experiencing chronic illness.
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