The Taboo of Sex in Care Homes

The Taboo of Sex in Care Homes

I was discussing this topic today with a Home Manager while conducting a compliance visit.  Both of us in our years of experience have been involved in many situations when this topic arose.  Sometimes safeguarding measures were needed and sometimes not.

Over my years working within the care home sector while I have come across this issue many times the reaction of staff has been varied from non interest to shock.

This article is not referring to abuse or unwanted sexual contact.  It is referring to consensual sex between a couple.

Safeguarding vulnerable adults is a priority and this should never be compromised.

The demographics tell us we have an aging population.  As such as a nation we are living longer.  In addition 1 in 3 of us over the age of 65 will have a form of Dementia.  It is here that the dilemma lies for those professionals and indeed family carers looking after those with Dementia and therefore a vulnerable adult.

I have witnessed on many occassions married couples coming into care homes and requesting a double bed.  The reaction from staff is sometimes disappointing.  Levels of privacy need to be agreed and discussed that provide reassurances where needed.  Should the door have a lock fitted?

I have also witnessed visiting spouses be affectionate with their partner and often the dilemma then arises on how much privacy should be provided? What is the mental capacity of the resident who is in care?

In summary there is no rule.  Each situation should be assessed individually with a strong focus on rights as well as protection.  Professionals need to feel comfortable and supported in advocating for their residents in care homes.  It was positive to note the comment from the RCN as this often challenging subject does still very much remain a taboo……..

I am interested in hearing your thoughts?????