Discussing sexuality with patients with Parkinson's disease: A survey among Dutch neurologists

P.J. van Hees, A.A. van der Plas, G.F. van Ek, H. Putter, B.L. den Oudsten, M.E. den Ouden, H.W. Elzevier

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Sexual functioning is often impaired in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and may affect quality of life of patients and their spouse. However, little is known about the practice patterns of neurologists with regard to discussing sexuality in this field. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate to what extent neurologists discuss sexuality with PD patients. A 22-item questionnaire was sent to 139 neurologists specializing in PD. The survey contained questions about their attitudes, knowledge, and practice patterns with respect to sexual dysfunction (SD) in patients with PD. The response rate of the survey was 66.9%. Most participants (56.8%) stated that they address sexuality in less than half of their PD patients. High age of patients (42.0%), insufficient consultation time (37.5%), and a lack of patients’ initiative to raise the topic themselves (36.4%) were frequently reported barriers towards discussing sexuality. The majority of participants considered that discussing sexuality is a responsibility that lay with neurologists (85.2%), nurses (73.9%), and patients (72.7%). One quarter of the neurologists reported to have insufficient or no knowledge on SD. The majority of participants regarded screening for SD important or slightly important (85.2%). A large proportion of Dutch neurologists specializing in PD do not routinely discuss sexuality with their PD patients. Sexual healthcare in PD patients may benefit from time-efficient tools and agreements on who is responsible for discussing SD. Furthermore, recommendations in PD guidelines on screening and managing SD should be adapted to fit everyday practice.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)361-368
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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