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Sexuality and Body Image

The focus of this chapter is sexuality and body image in people receiving palliative care. The message often given to these people by the health-care team, directly or indirectly, is that sexuality; body image, and sexual function are not priority issues at this time of their lives. The reality for many individuals is very different. The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, the chapter aims to highlight why sexuality and body image need to be considered in the palliative care context. Secondly, the chapter outlines strategies to assist nurses to discuss and respond to sexuality issues that can arise in the palliative-care setting.

Contents include

  • Introduction
  • Sexuality and body image in palliative care
  • Silence about sexuality
  • Approaches and strategies
    • General Approaches
    • Assessment
    • Tailored information and referral
    • Creating a space for sexuality
    • Involving partners
  • Providing intimate care
    • Cultural issues
  • Conclusion
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Author / Editor Biographies

Associate Prof (Cancer and Palliative Care, Edith Cowan University, Perth)
Kate has an extensive background in palliative care in the areas of clinical practice, education, and research. She is currently associate professor of Cancer and Palliative Care at Edith Cowan University (Perth, Western Australia). Kate's research areas have focused on sexuality, women's cancers, rural health care, and communication and psychosocial aspect of care. Her PhD focused on patients' perceptions of quality of life during palliative care. Kate represents palliative-care and cancer nurses on a number of national and state bodies.

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