Supporting residents’ expression of sexuality : the initial construction of a sexuality assessment tool for residential aged care facilities

Bauer, Michael, Fetherstonhaugh, Deirdre, Tarzia, Laura, Nay, Rhonda, & Beattie, Elizabeth (2014) Supporting residents’ expression of sexuality : the initial construction of a sexuality assessment tool for residential aged care facilities. BMC Geriatrics, 14(1), p. 82.

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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.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
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1 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 77796
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sexuality , Dementia, Residential aged care, Older people, Tool development
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2318-14-82
ISSN: 1471-2318
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Aged Care Nursing (111001)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Bauer et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 17 Oct 2014 04:22
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2014 22:26

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