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Communicating about sexual concerns within cardiac health services: Do service providers and service users agree?
National University of Ireland, Galway.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin.
National University of Ireland, Galway.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin.
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2013 (English)In: Patient Education and Counseling, ISSN 0738-3991, E-ISSN 1873-5134, Vol. 92, no 3, 398-403 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Sexual assessment and counselling is a recommended, yet underprovided and challenging, aspect of cardiac rehabilitation. We compared the views of cardiac healthcare providers and patients in terms of their experiences of communication about sexual issues.


Cardiac patients (n = 382) completed telephone surveys and hospital cardiac rehabilitation staff (n = 60) and general practitioners (n = 61) returned postal questionnaires.


Patients reported that sex was rarely discussed, yet nearly half of patients said they would have liked this opportunity. Most general practitioners (70%) reported not addressing sex with their patients and the majority of cardiac rehabilitators (almost 61%) reported that sexual problems were poorly addressed in their service. Patients perceived fewer barriers to communication (the main barrier was lack of privacy) than health professionals (the primary barrier for general practitioners was lack of time, and for cardiac rehabilitation staff, lack of training).


All participants agreed that sexual assessment and counselling is currently poorly implemented. A gap exists: patients, who generally want sexual issues to be addressed, perceive fewer barriers to communication than healthcare providers, who fear causing anxiety and discomfort by raising sexual issues with their patients.

Practice implications

Developing brief interventions for healthcare providers and information materials for patients are recommended.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2013. Vol. 92, no 3, 398-403 p.
Keyword [en]
Cardiovascular diseases; Cardiac rehabilitation; Sexual problems; Sexual dysfunction; Sexual assessment and counselling; Communication; Professional–patient relations
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-99816DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.03.010ISI: 000324657800017PubMedID: 23582647OAI: diva2:658278
International Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH)
Available from: 2013-10-21 Created: 2013-10-21 Last updated: 2013-10-29Bibliographically approved

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