Talking about post-injury sexual functioning: the views of people with spinal cord injuries. A qualitative interview study.

Sheila Nevin, V Melby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: to explore perceptions of people with spinal cord injuries regarding the information they received during their rehabilitation programme on post-injury sexual functioning.
Background: spinal cord injury is a traumatic, life-altering event that is associated with loss of motor and sensory function and sexual impairment. Existing evidence suggests that sexual issues are poorly handled during the rehabilitation phase of the patient’s journey.
Design: a descriptive qualitative design was utilised in this study.
Methods: twenty-nine people with spinal cord injury participated in qualitative in-depth interviews between November 2017 and April 2018, and data were analysed using the Burnard (1991) thematic analysis framework.
Results: some participants indicated they were sexually inactive prior to their spinal cord injury. They testified that they had not received information on post injury sexual functioning. Many participants who received post-injury information on sexual functioning, reported dissatisfaction with the content and timing of this information.
Conclusion: personal conversations between spinal cord injured patients and dedicated members of the interdisciplinary health team can enhance the quality of rehabilitation care and patients’ satisfaction with rehabilitation care. Nurses are central clinicians in the rehabilitation programme of spinal cord injured patients and should engage in individually designed conversations about post-injury sexual functioning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Practice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 May 2021


  • Nursing
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Sex education
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Interview
  • Rehabilitation
  • Interdisciplinary communication
  • Patient Care Team


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