Interventions used by allied health professionals in sexual rehabilitation after stroke : a systematic review
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofTopics in stroke rehabilitation
Publisher(s)Taylor and Francis
Background: Although sexuality can be affected post-stroke, few individuals receive sexual rehabilitation because of clinicians’ lack of knowledge regarding evidence-based interventions. Objective: To document and describe the best available evidence supporting interventions that target post-stroke rehabilitation of sexuality. Methods: This systematic review searched the databases Medline, Embase, Psycinfo, CINAHL, Web of science, PEDRO and OTSeeker up to 29 May 2020. Inclusion criteria were: published studies with a sample composed of ≥ 50% stroke clients and describing an intervention that could be applied by an allied health professional. Data was extracted according to the PRISMA guidelines by two independent reviewers. Interventions were described according to the Template for intervention description and replication checklist. Results: Among the 2446 articles reviewed, 8 met the inclusion criteria. Two randomized controlled trials (RCT) and one non-RCT showed improvement in sexual functioning and satisfaction following a 30–45-minute structured rehabilitation program. Two other RCT showed significant improvement in sexual functioning with physical therapy oriented toward 1) structured physical and verbal sexual counseling and 2) pelvic floor muscle training. Three studies showed that interdisciplinary sexual rehabilitation improved satisfaction and sexual functioning; implementation of an interview script for clinicians improved the proportion of clients who addressed sexuality from 0 to 80% in 10 months; and two-day couple retreats improved perceived intimacy between couples. Conclusions: This review highlights promising interventions that could orient future research and improve the access to sexual rehabilitation services for post-stroke, with structured sexual rehabilitation and pelvic floor muscle training being the most strongly supported.
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