Poster Abstract

Sexuality and Arthritis: A Workshop for Patients on Synergistic Communication (P100)

Monique Camerlain (Clinique Médicale Belvedere, Sherbrooke, Quebec); Geneviève Myhal (Clinique Médicale Belvedere, Sherbrooke, Quebec); S Dion (Pfizer, Canada)

According to the literature, arthritis affects various components of sexuality: opportunity, image, desire, competence and expression. 40% of patients would like their phisician to help them with their intimate relationships. Yet, influenced by the North-American dominant Judeo-Christian ethic, they have difficulty in expressing their needs.

We have created an interactive workshop to educate patients on the problems and benefits of sexuality in arthritis and to improve patient provider communication in order to assist patients in their intimacy needs. This was supported by an educational grant from Pfizer.

Participants were asked to fill a before-and-after questionnaire to evaluate their knowledge and attitudes on the topic of sexuality; their comfort level in communicating with their partner; and their comfort level in communicating with healthcare providers. They were also asked to rate their satisfaction with the workshop.

A role play presented the story of a relationship compromised by the lack of communication regarding sexual problems caused by the wife’s arthritis. A formal presentation on the topic was then followed by a small group interactive period where participants identified the 3 most important questions that (i) physicians could ask patients and (ii) patients could ask physicians, in order to improve communication on sexuality.

We present the results of the participants’ questionnaires. We also discuss the particpants’ suggestions regarding how to create synergistic communication with their partners and healthcare providers regarding sexuality and arthritis.