Exemplar Health Care launches training about relationships, sexuality and intimacy in care homes

26 May 2021

Two people holding hands

Exemplar Health Care has worked with national charity, Enhance the UK, to design training for colleagues about friendships, sexuality and intimacy in care homes. The training will be rolled out across our 33 care homes over the coming months.

In 2019, Exemplar Health Care partnered with Leeds University to carry out a research study to understand to what extent people’s needs were being met around personal relationships, intimacy and sexual expression.

Whilst there were pockets of good practice, the results suggested that many people who live in care homes thought that they weren’t allowed personal relationships. The study highlighted that many people in our homes have low self-esteem as a result of their disability, with one participant saying ‘why would anyone want to be with me?’

It also highlighted that many people wanted a friend, who was there through choice rather than someone who was there because it was their job to be there – they missed the company and social interaction that many of us take for granted each day.

This reflects the wider issues that disabled people face around sex and sexuality.

Enhance the UK reports: “Disability can have a profound impact on your sex life, on the way you do it, and also the amount you have it. There are so many barriers facing disabled people who want to have an active sex life; self-confidence, self-esteem, finding a partner and overcoming physical and emotional barriers.

“In fact, all those same barriers apply to anyone wanting an active sex life. The difference however for disabled people is that no one seems to want to talk about sex and disability.”

Training about relationships, sexuality and intimacy in care homes

Following the study, we teamed up with Enhance the UK to design training for our colleagues.

Enhance the UK is a user-led charity that aims to change the way that people view disability.

As part of their #UndressingDisability campaign, which aims to normalise sex and disability, they work with care home colleagues to give them the ‘know-how’ so that disabled people can exercise their right of sexual expression in a safe and legal way.

Exemplar Health Care is the first care provider to receive train the trainer sessions so that our clinical experts can deliver training across our 3000-strong workforce.

The training is due to start in June 2021 and will be offered to all of our colleagues.

“We’re proud to be offering this training”

Julie Booth, Head of Quality, shares: “We are proud to be offering this training for our care home colleagues.

“We are all sexual beings – we all want to be loved and we all crave intimacy at times. And that shouldn’t be any different for people who live in care homes.

“At Exemplar Health Care, life is all about choice. We want to encourage and support people to feel comfortable and confident expressing their sexuality and sexual needs as they wish, and in seeking and exploring relationships of all kinds, in a way that promotes their choice and dignity, and ensures their safety.

“It isn’t just about sexual relationships, it’s also about platonic relationships. We all have friends and people that we like to be with and interact with, and we want to give the people who live with us the same opportunities.

“We’re rolling out this training across our 33 care homes to start conversations and change people’s thinking around friendships, sexuality and disability.

“We know that some people find these conversations uncomfortable and difficult, which is why we have a team of clinical experts who are committed to supporting the programme and ensuring that we make real change for the people we support.

“Over the next six months, we hope to embed this culture in our recruitment, induction and supervision process.”

Person-centred care at Exemplar Health Care

Exemplar Health Care is a leading provider of specialist nursing care for adults living with a range of complex and high acuity needs.

We care for some of the most complex and acute individuals, who would often be in a hospital setting if not placed with us.

Our community-based homes and OneCare services provide person-centred care and rehabilitation that focuses on maximising independence, building everyday living skills and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible.

Get in touch to enquire about our care.