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Do health professionals integrate sexuality in managing patients' continence and stoma-therapy in Austira - results self-asessment-survey at the annual Austrian Continence Meeting, Linz, October 2017

Ucsnik, L1Buchner-Jirka, K2; Kottmel, A3; Bitzer, J4; Teleky, B5; Wunderlich, M6

1: Medical University Vienna, Univ.Clin. f. Surgery, Austria; 2: Public Hospital Vöcklabruck, Gespag, Austria; 3: Private Practise for Gynecology and Sexual Medicine, Austria; 4: Private Practise, Swisse; 5: Medical University Vienna, Univ.Clin.f. Surgery, Austria; 6: Private Practise, Austria, Austrian Society for Continence

Introduction: Impairment of the function of the pelvic floor, such as urinary and fecal incontinence, as well as short- or long-term enterostomata are known to have an impact on patient’s sexuality. This affects pateints’ quality of life. Naturally, these problems of a patient’s intimacy are subjected to taboos and therefore tend to be neglected in the course of their management. Therefore, we have invited various health professionals in Austria to assess the integration of sexual health issues in the management of their patients.

Method: At the annual Austrian Medical Continence meeting, Linz, October 2017, 32 of 190 questionnaires were filled in by medical doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.

Results: 81% of the participants were female, 9% male, 44% aged between 41-50 years, each 34% were active in public hospital and practice. 22% had more than 21 years of clinical practice. 22% had undergone a training in sexual medicine previously. 16% of the participants stated they ask actively 80-100% of the patients about sexual problems, 22% 41-60% of the patients, 28% up to 20% of the patients. 63% of the participants were asked by up to 20% of the patients about troubled sexuality. 47% stated that they considered up to 20% of the patients having sexual problems without addressing it. 63% rated that “other topics are more, 31% assumed that the cultureal background of their patients did not allow to ask for it or speak about it. 78% stated that certain diagnoses should prompt to address sexuality more actively, e.g. 59% in pain management, 56% in patient’s andro/menopause, 53% before surgery. 41% of the health professionals referred the patients to specialists, 38% gave information on the physiology of sexual function, 22% offered sexual medicine treatment or sexual therapy, 25% evaluated the impact of medication on sexual dysfunction. Only 6% thought they were able to help 80-100% of the patients. 47% of the health professionals estimated that they lack sexual medicine knowledge which would impair the success of their management.

Conclusion: Austrian health professionals of this survey were mainly female. Information about the physiology of sexual function was offered by 38% only. A lack of sexual medicine competence was stated by 47% of the participants – this being a reason for a reduced success of treatment. Hopefully, professionally designed training-concepts in sexual medicine may contribute to a more successful management of continence and stoma-therapy.

Disclosure:

Work supported by industry: no.

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