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The prevalence and determinants of inappropriate sexual behaviour in people with acquired brain injury in nursing homes. 

Kohnen, R.F., Lavrijsen, J., Akkermans, R., Gerritsen, D. & Koopmans, R.

25 februari 2021


Establishing the prevalence of inappropriate sexual behaviour, concurrent challenging behaviours and the determinants of inappropriate sexual behaviour among patients with acquired brain injury ≤65 years of age in Dutch nursing homes.

Cross-sectional, observational study in acquired brain injury special care units spreads throughout the country.

Nursing homes were recruited through the national expertise network for patients with severe acquired brain injury, regional brain injury teams and by searching the Internet. Patient characteristics were collected through digital questionnaires. Inappropriate sexual behaviour was assessed with the St. Andrews Sexual Behaviour Assessment, concurrent challenging behaviours with the NeuroPsychiatric InventoryNursing Home Version and the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory, cognition with the Mini-Mental State Examination and activities of daily living with the Disability Rating Scale. Psychotropic drug use was retrieved from the electronic prescription system. Associations between determinants and inappropriate sexual behaviour were examined using multilevel multivariate linear regression model analyses. Data collection started in June 2017 and ended in April 2019.

Of the 118 included patients, 38.1% had one or more inappropriate sexual behaviours. Verbal comments (30.1%) and non-contact behaviour (24.8%) were the most prevalent types of inappropriate sexual behaviour. Less severe behaviours were more common than more severe behaviours. The most frequent concurrent challeng ing behaviours were agitation, aggression and hyperactivity. Physical aggression was associated with more inappropriate sexual behaviour. Being married and pain were associated with less inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Inappropriate sexual behaviour is prevalent in patients with acquired brain injury ≤65 years of age residing in nursing homes.

Inappropriate sexual behaviour may have impact not only on the patients themselves but also on nursing staff. Insight into the magnitude, severity, course and concurrent challenging behaviours, sexuality and quality of life could give direction to the kind of interventions and education that is needed. The ultimate goal is to develop appropriate care for this vulnerable group of patients, specifically psychosocial interventions and appropriate use of psychotropic drugs.

acquired brain injury, challenging behaviours, inappropriate sexual behaviour, long-term care, nurses/midwives/nursing, nursing home, prevalence