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Tackling the Risqué: Addressing Sexuality in a Hospital Setting

How to Talk to Your Patients About (and Answer) Their Concerns About Sexual Activity

Research has shown that sexual activity and sexuality have been positively correlated with perceptions of quality of life. A hospital stay can dramatically affect sexuality and/or engagement in sexual activity, even if only for a brief period of time. This course will describe the current literature related to addressing sexuality and sexual activity within the healthcare environment, especially in occupational therapy. Barriers, fears and preconceived notions related to addressing sexuality with clients will be defined, and strategies for overcoming these barriers will be presented through the lens of an occupational therapist.

The 2019 course has been canceled.

This course is approved by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) for 0.8 CEUs/8 hours of continuing education. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.

What You Will Get From This Course

  • Suggestions for starting the conversation and opportunity to practice conversations about sexuality 
  • Strategies for identifying psychosocial factors and evaluation of physical impairments
  • Compensatory strategies including positions, adaptations and toys to assist with certain diagnoses 
  • Diagnosis-specific precautions and contraindications
  • Current role and future occupational therapy involvement with sexuality in the medical setting
  • A brief tutorial of further treatment beyond occupational therapy, such as through women’s health physical therapy

At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and create an action/treatmemt plan based on a patient’s need to address sexuality issues related to diagnosis or surgery.
  • Provide Limited Information (in relation to the PLISSIT model) to a patient regarding sexuality.
  • Refer patients to resources to help further explore their questions related to sexuality, including how to identify resources and treatment options outside of occupational therapy. 


Yao Leung, occupational therapistYao Leung, MAOT, OTR/L

Leung has been practicing for seven years in acute care. Her experience is in oncology, but most recently, at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, she’s been working with the general surgery population as a team coordinator. Leung and Casey have presented numerous posters, continuing education courses, and workshops on sexuality and how to address it with various patient populations.

Kelly Casey, occupational therapistKelly Casey, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR, ATP, CPAM

Casey has served as an occupational therapist in acute care neurosciences and in the outpatient ALS clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for the past 14 years. She also serves in leadership as a clinical specialist. As the principal investigator, Casey has initiated and completed several IRB-approved studies. Her work has been published in research publications and featured in multiple national presentations at AOTA annual conferences. Casey is AOTA board certified in physical rehabilitation.

Courtney Steiner, physical therapistCourtney Steiner, PT, DPT

Steiner has been working as an outpatient physical therapist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for three years with orthopedic and pelvic health patients. This experience has helped her form a foundation for the musculoskeletal components of female pelvic floor dysfunction. Her pelvic floor training has been through the Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute. Steiner has also assisted in providing continuing education to her fellow rehabilitation professionals in physical therapy treatment of antepartum and postpartum patients. 

Course Schedule

7:00 – 7:30 a.m. Registration and check-in
7:30 – 7:40 a.m.Outline and overview of the course, introduction of the speakers
7:40 – 8:20 a.m.

Part I: Theoretical background

  • Evidence-based support for the role of occupational therapy in sexuality
  • Introduction of patient education
  • Effect on sexuality in the acute care setting
  • Literature review.
8:20 – 10:10 a.m.

Part II: Diagnosis-specific precautions, positioning and adaptive devices:

  • Orthopedics
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cardiac Diagnoses
  • General organ transplant
  • Neurologic and neurosurgical diagnoses
10:10 – 10:25 a.m.Break
10:25 – 11:05 a.m.Chronic Diseases and Progressive Neuromuscular diseases 
11:05 – 12:30 p.m.Lab (hands-on exposure to devices and positioning aides)
12:30 – 1:15 p.m.Lunch (provided)
12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Gender-Affirming Surgery
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.Presentation by Courtney Steiner on women’s health physical therapy and other outpatient physical therapy services that can assist with addressing sexuality concerns
2:15 – 3:15 p.m.Case Presentations: Part I
3:00 – 3:30 p.m.Break
3:30 – 4:45 p.m.Case Presentations: Part II
4:45 – 5:00 p.m.Q&A


If you have questions, please email Yao Leung at or call 410-955-6758.

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