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Promoting sexual safety among care home residents – advice for employers

CQC wants nurses to feel able to broach the subject of sexuality with individuals in their care
an older woman and older man hold hands, faces not shown

CQC wants nurses to feel able to broach the subject of sexuality with individuals in their care

Nurses in adult social care need support to protect residents from sexual harm, while enabling consensual relationships to be nurtured, the CQC said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued recommendations to employers on what to do to help nurses and other staff navigate this complex area.

Conversations about sex, safety and consent

    It revealed in a report it had received 899 reports of sexual incidents from care home operators and other adult social care providers in England in a three-month period. Of these, 95% involved inappropriate sexual behaviour, sexual harassment and even rape; just 5% were deemed in the end to have been consensual.

    CQC wants nurses to feel able to broach the subject of sexuality with individuals in their care


    Picture: iStock

    Nurses in adult social care need support to protect residents from sexual harm, while enabling consensual relationships to be nurtured, the CQC said.

    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued recommendations to employers on what to do to help nurses and other staff navigate this complex area. 

    Conversations about sex, safety and consent

      It revealed in a report it had received 899 reports of ‘sexual incidents’ from care home operators and other adult social care providers in England in a three-month period. Of these, 95% involved inappropriate sexual behaviour, sexual harassment and even rape; just 5% were deemed in the end to have been consensual. 

      The CQC's recommendations include:

      • Giving staff access to guidance and training that addresses sexuality and relationships.
      • Encouraging staff to broach the subject of sexuality and relationships with people in their care, as appropriate, and raise concerns about safety with them.
      • Ensuring staff can talk to managers if they have concerns about someone's sexual safety.

      Sexual needs and status included in holistic assessment

      The commission said it wants care providers to ensure a person’s history, including their sexuality and current relationship status, is part of their holistic assessment.

      RCN professional lead for older people's care, Dawne Garrett, said care home providers must promote clear boundaries to protect and support residents and staff. 

      ‘Fundamentally, people who move to live in a care home should be able to have the same rights, choices and responsibilities they enjoyed at home provided these do not impinge on the rights of others in the home,' she said.


      Related material

      CQC: Promoting sexual safety through empowerment


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