Sexual counselling after Acquired Brain Injury
International research indicates that Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) can affect sexuality. Therefore, sexual rehabilitation needs to be included in brain injury rehabilitation. The brain injury itself might contribute to changes in sexuality, but also the impact of the brain injury on physical, cognitive and emotional or social domains might contribute to changes. Direct sexual functions might be affected such as, desire, arousal, ejaculation and orgasm. However, other indirect sexual changes can also occur due to changes after ABI. Although international studies found sexual rehabilitation to be important in brain injury rehabilitation, there is a lack of evidence for best practice. Consequently, the needs might be overlooked. Moreover, there are no resent studies on sexuality after ABI in Sweden, and there seems to be a research gap.
The project consists or four studies. The material from a questionnaire survey will provide data for the two first studies, while the following two will be qualitative studies. The questionnaire was specifically developed for this project, and was distributed to individuals that participated in brain injury rehabilitation in Sweden. The first two studies concerns participants experiences of their sexuality after acquired brain injury, their coping strategies due to any changes, and if they had experienced sexual counselling during rehabilitation. The qualitative studies are planned to be a focus group study including professionals at rehabilitation medicine clinics, and an interview study including operation managers. Our expectations of these studies are to gain an understanding of how professionals experience needs for sexual counselling for patients, and reflections on possibilities and obstacles in the context of brain injury rehabilitation. Moreover, by including interviews with operation managers we want to gain understanding for their views on structural possibilities and barriers to include sexual rehabilitation in brain injury rehabilitation.