The challenges and opportunities in researching intimacy and sexuality in care homes accommodating older people: a feasibility study.

Paul Simpson, Christine Brown Wilson, Laura JE Brown, Tommy Dickinson, Maria Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Aim. To explore the challenges of conducting research on sexuality and intimacyamong older care home residents.

Background. Sexuality and intimacy are neglected in care policies and practices.

Design. Qualitative analytical study drawing on poststructuralist theorizing.Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with residents and spouses(n = 6) and care staff (n = 16) in two care homes in Northwest England in 2014.The sample was obtained through a network of ‘research-ready’ care homes.Thematic analysis was used to make sense of narratives with the aid of NVivo10.

Results. Participant responses highlight the workings of ageist erotophobicdiscourse that undergirds the assumption of residents (and old people generally)as postsexual. This materialized in reservations about the research ranging fromopposition on moral grounds to doubts about its feasibility given the age-groupconcerned. However, residents and care home staff can also draw on counter discourses that resist/challenge ageist erotophobic thinking, which materialized in methodological and ethical recommendations.

Conclusion. Participants generally agreed with the principle of the research andmade recommendations that could counter/resist ageist erotophobic governanceand guide researchers on sampling, style of questioning and communicating with(prospective) study participants on a sensitive subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume73
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Nursing home
  • Dementia
  • Older people
  • sexuality
  • Nursing

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