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Do Austrian pain-nurses integrate sexual health problems in daily pain-management and -care- results at the annual congress of the Austrian Association for Pain, April 2017, Gmunden, Austria

Schukro, R1; Sator, S1; Kottmel, A2; Körbel, TH3; Bitzer, J4; Teleky, B5; Jaksch, W6; Ucsnik, L5

1: Medical University Vienna, Univ.Clin f. Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Austria; 2: Private Practice for Gynecology and Sexual Medicine, Austria; 3: Medical University Vienna, Austria; 4: Private Practice, Switzerland; 5: Medical University Vienna, Univ.Clin f. Surgery, Austria; 6: Wilhelminenspital, Vienna Hospital Chain, Ltd, Austrian Society for Pain, Austria

Introduction: Sexuality and intimacy are an essential part of patient’s quality of life. Acute and chronic pain do have an impact on patients’ sexuality due to reduced ability to move as well as pain-killers’ side-effects contributing to sexual dysfunction. Little is scientifically proven in the field of pain therapy and sexuality. Thus we wanted to assess pain nurses’ integration of sexual issues in daily care.

Methods: At the annual meeting of the Austrian Pain Association, Zell am See, April 2017, 12 of 50 (return-rate 25%) participating pain-nurses answered a questionnaire assessing the integration of sexuality in pain-management and care.

Results: 90% of the participants were female, 60% aged between 41- and 50 years, 50% active in public, 30% in private, 20% in university hospital, 80% had more than 21 years of clinical experience in anesthesia and intensive care. 80% of the pain-nurses asked up to 80% of the patients about sexual problems. 60% were asked about troubled sexuality by up to 20% of the patients. 40% were not asked about this issue at all. Every nurse did have concerns that patients’ sexuality was troubled, 30% each suggested 61-80 and 81-100% of the patients had issues. Patient’s age (50%), patient’s culture (40%), patient’s religion as well as embarrassment by the topic (30%) and other priorities (60%) were the reasons suggested by the nurse why patients did not address sexuality.

The support offered by the nurses in case of troubled sexuality was reference to specialists in sexual health such as urology, gynecology, psychology (50%) and pain therapy (40%) as well as evaluation of medication’s side-effects having impact on sexual function. 40% of the nurses assessed being of help for 21-40% of the patient’s sexual problems. Aspects contributing to reduced success of treatment and care were rated patient’s age (70%), patient’s culture and religion (50% each), little patient’s motivation and lack of professional sexual medicine knowledge and skills (30% respectively).

Conclusion: This survey’s participants were experienced in their field of expertise. All of them had concerns that the patient’s sexuality was troubled by pain. Age, religion and culture were assessed relevant aspects having an essential impact of the success of integrating sexual health issues in pain-management. There’s a need for sexual medicine training for nurses. Further investigations in the field of pain management and care are needed.


Work supported by industry: no.

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