Is it right to sexually assist a paralysed patient? - page 7

How do you deal with the paralysed patient with frequent erections? Have you ever been asked to assist? I've never faced this but have seen a heated discussion on another forum. Is it humane to bring... Read More

  1. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    If a pt. needs his "itch scratched", then it's not up to the nurse. He or the family should make some sort of arrangement for this problem to be taken care of.

    I looked at the LPN, LPNFA, RN, CRNA, APN, AND NP job descriptions at work. No where on there was "itch scratching" mentioned as a nurse's job.

    That would be becase it ISN'T.
  2. by   BadBird
    Are you out of your freaking mind?????? Duh, No it is not ok to do that unless you work in a legalized brothal in Nevada.
  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I think i'd rather be the head fry cook at McD's first before i'd be a brothel employee.

    Both jobs i'd hate, but at least being a fry cook, i would still have my pride, dignity, and self-worth at the end of the shift.
  4. by   mother/babyRN
    I think if the idea of it makes one uncomfortable, as it would me, that might actually be the answer. If a patient does ask that you assist, I would indicate to the patient that the question was inappropriate and attempt to offer appropriate understanding and empathy. But no, it is not ethical or professional to take part in such an act or, in my opinion, is it appropriate to ever engage in that sort of behavior. I recall my first cardiac patient years ago cornering me in the bathroom and asking for much the same thing. I was horrified but also at a loss for words. It was the first time I had ever been confronted with such a thing. Later on one learns to figure out how to deal with a manipulative patient, or one who perhaps might ask that question....It isn't always easy but to answer this particular inquiry, I concur with the general concensus. No.....
  5. by   LydiaGreen
    Quote from Roland
    Instead, there are other professionals such as sexual surrogates (sometimes employed by certain relationship counselors), and even prostitutes who could provide these services (consider that prostitution is legal within certain parameters in MUCH of the world including Canada, Australia, France, the UK and Nevada).
    Roland - I am Canadian. My father worked for the Ontario Provincial Police for greater than 30 years. Please, enlighten me. Where in Canada is prostitution legal? I am pretty sure that you are very, very wrong in that statement.
  6. by   Jay-Jay
    This is not something I would ever feel was within the scope of my nursing practise. We have all heard of nurses who have been disciplined for making even an inappropriate sexual remark to a patient, let alone offering to relieve their frustrations.

    HOWEVER, not all nurses have such high moral principles. My husband used to be a frequent visitor at a LTC facility, where he played chess with a resident who had MS. He told Roger that there was one nurse on their unit who would provide her services to male patients (I'm assuming this was masturbation ONLY!) All they had to do was leave some money (not sure what the going rate was) on their bedside table as a signal that they wanted her to 'stop by' during the night. This part of the hospital had a large number of male patients who were paralyzed for various reasons, and many of them were young enough to still have a strong sex drive.
  7. by   DavidFR
    Well, I didn't expect such a massive response to this question.

    I'm shocked by the people who have all but condemned me for even asking it. Even more shocked by those who feel it's not a topic for discussion. Herein lies the problem - nurses not even wanting to discuss aspects of the patient's life they don't feel comfortable with. Surely this bury your head in the sand approach cannot be healthy.

    I posed this question because on another forum (not a nursing forum) I read the post of a Dutch nurse who said he had responded to the request of a patient unable to bring himself to ejaculation by helping him do so. He says he reported his actions. Given the situation I think his actions were humane and kind. Having never faced this situation myself, I'm not sure how I would react. The poster who suggested I might be doing it, simply for posing the qurstion, is really ................sentence cut for personal attack like nature................... Th analagy made to prayer is a good one. Prayer, like sexual release, is not vital to life like food and water, but nevertheless very important to some people. As an atheist I could never pray with a patient, I would call for the hospital chaplain. I understand nurses who say they could never respond to requests to sexually relieve an immobile patient and like praying, this should never be an EXPECTED part of the nurses role. Where there is no partner to perform this function, there is perhaps an argument for bringing in the services of a paid sex worker. Nurses who do perform this humane act are not satisfying their own sexual desires, and allusions to porno/sexy **** nurses are unnecessary and unhelpful.

    It shocks me that some nurses are not even prepared to consider the torment a highly sexed immobile patient may go through, dismissing the suffering as simply "not an ADL" Suppose this was somebody who was used to making love or masturbating every day? And now he can't. I don't say the nurse should intervene directly, but I also don't condemn the Dutch nurse who said he did.

    It strikes me as sad that on a non-nursing forum, this issue was discussed with greater sensitivity and maturity than here. That people could attack me for even raising the issue, or say that they laughed and thought it was a joke, is not conducive to open discussion. Doesn't free speech mean anything to nurses?
    Last edit by nilepoc on Apr 6, '04 : Reason: personal attack removed
  8. by   Quickbeam
    I'll take a stab at a non-hysterical response. This actually has been asked of me many times in my nursing career. I've been asked to relieve sexual tensions of men from 16 to 90 in my various jobs in rehabilitation. I am a woman (not obvious by my screen name).

    I always responded with compassion...sorry, I am unable to assist you in that way. I found it amazing how insistent the older men were that this was ok and that "their wives wouldn't mind".

    I don't find the discussion funny at is a real world, real life situation nurses face. I also got very little support from managers who were completely focused on customer service/zero tolerance for complaints mode. One actually told me I was at fault for not finding something else for the patient to do.

    Oddly, isn't it amazing that women seem to manage their needs/sexual incapacity whereas men in the same situation are desperate for help?
    Last edit by Quickbeam on Apr 6, '04
  9. by   mattsmom81
    IMO nurses have the obligation to recognize our patients are sexual beings. My obligation ends after allowing the patient and his/her partner time alone to carry activity out ON THEIR OWN. Any counseling I might do would be generic and very basic as I am not a 'sex therapist' nor do I think this is the nurse role. We can always refer if indicated.

    Regarding the money-on-the-table 'nurse' Jay Jay...good grief...THAT certainly helps nurses out in the public perception department doesn't it. Then of course movies like "World according to Garp' reinforce it.
  10. by   steel magnolia
    Quote from jnette
    Nope... not this kid. I'd turn in my licence first. :uhoh21:
    I feel the same exact way!!!
  11. by   Rocknurse
    I find this thread too revolting to even contemplate. Makes me shudder just thinking about it. I can't believe we're even seriously discussing this. The day that nurses are asked to do this is the day I look for a new career. Disgusting, and I'm not even a prude.
  12. by   BBFRN
    Ok then, all moral implications, etc. aside- if it is one of our functions as nurses to help a patient restore vital function as much as possible, so they can take care of themselves as best they can once they go home, what help would we be providing them by manually relieving them? Wouldn't that be like putting briefs on them instead of bladder retraining? Or carrying them around instead of teaching them to use a special wheelchair? What restorative value is in that kind of act? And what happens to that patient once they go home where there isn't a nurse to "relieve" them? It seems that if a person uses masturbation daily to cope with their stressors (understanding that this isn't the case with all people who masturbate daily), and they can no longer use that as a stress relieving function, then it would fall within the guidelines of good nursing care to help the patient identify other effective coping mechanisms. Wouldn't this be more helpful to the patient in the long run?
  13. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from Betty_SPN_KS
    Wouldn't it be more appropriate if he and his wife asked for some privacy so she (the wife) could do it? She was right there!
    This comes closest to my first thought when reading the original post.

    It's a wife-girlfriend thang.

    Glad to furnish the curtain and shut the door. Even provide a snack after. Enjoy life!