Work, sexuality and long-term care

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Female workers can experience unwanted sexual attention (e.g. sexualized verbal comments and requests, sexual gestures and sexual touching) from the residents that they care for in residential long-term care (RLTC) settings. These types of experiences may be uncomfortable or distressing for workers, may compromise their well-being and may negatively influence care relationships between providers and care receivers.

Developing appropriate policies and organizational strategies to manage sexual expression in residential long-term care is complex and ethically challenging as this care setting is both a home and a workplace. However, limited research to date has focused on this topic, and we know very little of workers’ experiences and perspectives on sexual attention, and of the training and education that they receive in this area.

My postdoctoral research is addressing this gap in knowledge through a multi-method ethnographic study of sexual attention in one long-term care home in central Ontario.

This research is supported by an Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

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