Sexuality (SXY) in Palliative Care (PC): Are there Barriers to Tackle? Survey on 20 Professional Team Members (TM)


Grance G.1, Pérez M.1, Fernández D.1, Urbano E.1, De Simone G.1,2

(1) Asociacion Pallium Latinoamerica, Buenos Aires, Argentina, (2) Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Introduction: SXY defines the meaningful relationships people have with themselves and significant others: emotional connection to others takes precedence over physical expressions. Studies show that many patients value SXY and want assistance in making the best of their sexual potential during the PC phase and disease also impacts upon SXY of carers in a couple relationship with a patient

(PAT). Different barriers are mentioned in terms of embracing SXY, including difficulties in professional TM. During the last 5 years, as part of their annual diploma training in PC, our students had identified SXY as an important but difficult area to explore.

Aim: To assess skilled TM of PC teams about their perspectives on SXY and competences in dealing with their PAT and couples´ needs on SXY.

Materials and methods: A structured questionnaire with 7 questions has been asked to 20 professional TM of PC teams involved in a master course (most of them doctors). Questions referred to how important TM consider SXY needs are for their

PAT and couples, how often TM ask about SXY to them, how much competence TM consider to have for dealing with PAT (and couples) SXY.

Results: It emerges that: a) all TM scored SXY to be high (10/20) or moderate (10/20) important for PAT; b) 12/20 of them answered that PAT seldom asked them about SXY needs; c) 14/20 of TM answered that they never (1/20) or seldom (13/20) asked their PAT about SXY; d) 19/20 of them answered that PAT couples seldom

asked them about SXY; e) 9/20 of TM referred that they never (3/20) or seldom ( 6/20) asked PAT couples about SXY needs; f) all TM considered SXY to be a highly important (16/20) or important area (4/20) to embrace; g) 14/20 of TM referred they have low competence (13/20) or medium competence (6/20) to deal with SXY in PC practice.

Conclusions: We think it is time to modify our educational approach on SXY to best meet professional needs in relation with daily practice, considering the complex dimensions of the concept.


Pallium Latinoamérica. Ciencia, alivio y esperanza en el final de la vida.