Sexual Consent Capacity Assessment with Older Adults

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Many healthcare providers have a limited knowledge of sexual and intimate expression in later life, often due to attitudinal and informational limitations. Further, the likelihood of an older adult experiencing cognitive decline increases in a long-term care (LTC) setting, complicating the ability of the providers to know if the older adult can make his or her own sexual decisions, or has sexual consent capacity. Thus, the team is left to question if and how to support intimacy and/or sexuality among residents with intimacy needs. Psychologists working with LTC need to be aware and knowledgeable about sexual consent capacity in older adulthood to be prepared to conduct evaluations and participate in planning care. Limited research is available to consult for best practices in sexual consent capacity assessment; however, models of assessment have been developed based on the best available evidence, clinical judgment, and practice. Existing models will be discussed and an integrated model will be illustrated via a case study.

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