Sexuality, fertility and parenting after spinal cord injury: training for professionals

Kara Hosking, Senior Physiotherapist at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville, describes a new training course on sexuality, fertility and parenting.

A multidisciplinary group of spinal cord injury healthcare professionals at the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NCIS) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has devised a two day course covering sexuality, fertility and parenting following a spinal cord injury. The course is aimed at professionals who work with spinal cord injured patients who are seeking advice outside of a specialist centre, and to professionals who wish to expand their knowledge regarding this topic.

The pilot course was held in July 2013 with approximately 20 delegates attending, and was held at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire.

Course content

The range of topics were carefully considered and planned so the delegates would follow a pathway during the two day course. Topics were presented by a range of professionals from the NSIC. These included:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Body image and self esteem
  • What inhibits us from talking about sex?
  • Different abilities and positioning
  • Relationship issues - what about the partner? what about the personal assistant?
  • Policy and procedure
  • Contraception
  • Menstruation
  • Fertility
  • Pregnancy
  • Parenting

The course concluded with some ex-patients from the NSIC who had become parents since being injured, telling their stories to the delegates and openly answering any questions the delegates had.

The feedback from the delegates was largely positive, with most stating they would recommend the course to colleagues. Delegates commented that they felt better prepared and would feel more comfortable answering questions and queries from their patients following the course.

Future plans

It is hoped the course will run annually, although no dates are planned for 2014 yet. If you are interested in attending the 2 day course, or would like further information about the full programme, cost and future dates, please contact Nikki Henderson or Debbie Bragg. You can also find out more via a leaflet on the NSIC website.

Published: 5 December 2013

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