Unravelling current sexual care in chronic kidney disease; perspective of social workers

Gaby F. Van Ek, Dirry Keurhorst, Esmée M. Krouwel, Melianthe P.j. Nicolai, Marjolein E.m. Den Ouden, Henk W. Elzevier, Hein Putter, Rob C.m. Pelger, B.L. den Oudsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Fifty to eighty percent of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience a form of sexual dysfunction (SD), even after renal transplantation. Despite this, inquiring about SD is often not included in the daily practice of renal care providers.
This paper explores the perspectives of renal social workers regarding sexual care for patients and evaluates their practice, attitude towards responsibility and knowledge of SD.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using a 41-item online survey.
Seventy-nine members of the Dutch Federation of Social Workers Nephrology.
It was revealed that 60% of respondents discussed SD with a fifth of their patients. Frequency of discussion was associated with experience (p = 0.049), knowledge (p = 0.001), supplementary education (p = 0.006), and the availability of protocols on sexual care (p = 0.007). Main barriers towards discussing SD consisted of ‘culture and religion’ (51.9%), ‘language and ethnicity’ (49.4%), and ‘presence of a third person’ (45.6%). Sufficient knowledge of SD was present in 28% of respondents. The responsibility for discussion was 96% nephrologists and 81% social workers.
This study provides evidence that a part of Dutch nephrology social workers do not provide sexual care regularly, due to insufficient experience and sexual knowledge, absence of privacy and protocols and barriers based on cultural diversity. According to the respondents the responsibility for this aspect of care should be multidisciplinary. Recommendations include a need for further education on the topic, private opportunities to discuss SD and multidisciplinary guidelines on sexual care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-37
JournalJournal of Renal Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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