Address why sexual health is not being discussed with older adults in the primary care setting.
Sexual health can directly impact psychological well-being and quality of life, yet the literature shows it is not being routinely discussed with older adults in the primary care setting. Providers have cited general discomfort with addressing the topic, lack of education on how to broach the subject, and lack of time during office visits.
A convenience sample was used at a clinic in rural Iowa.
A sexual health questionnaire was created and administered to patients aged 50 and older during routine health maintenance visits. Clinic staff was educated on the issue and the questionnaire to be administered. A pre- and post-implementation chart audit was conducted from an 8-week period.
The percentage of participants that were up to date on preventative health measures did not differ by testing period, X2(1, N = 178) = 0.063, p = 0.802. The percentage of participants that had sexual health addressed did not differ by testing period, X2(1, N = 178) = 1.706, p = 0-.192.
This QI project demonstrates the feasibility of using a sexual health questionnaire to initiate open discussions between patients and providers. With increased compliance of questionnaire administration, this could assist in changing practice to better address the sexual health of older adults.