National Rehabilitation Hospital

Sexual Wellbeing Service at the NRH

What is the Sexual Wellbeing Service at the NRH?

The Sexual Wellbeing service at the NRH provides an opportunity for individuals (and their partners) to discuss concerns and address issues about changes in their sexual wellbeing since their injury or diagnosis.

The sexual wellbeing service will provide information and counselling within a sensitive, supportive and confidential setting.

What is Sexual Wellbeing?

This has been described as a person’s satisfaction with the emotional and physical aspects of relationships; satisfaction with sexual functioning and the importance of sexuality in one’s life.

What is Sexuality?

Sexuality is an important component to sexual wellbeing.

Sexuality is an integral part of us all, regardless of age, gender, health and physical ability.

Sexuality encompasses all the feelings, attitudes and behaviours that contribute to a person’s own sense of being a man or a woman.

What does the Sexual Wellbeing Service Provide?

The service provides support for patients – and their relevant other – after experiencing disability or disabling illness in their lives. This experience can often have a traumatic effect on our patients which can result in issues such as:

  • relationship difficulties
  • damage to self esteem and body image
  • difficulty with sexual function
  • problems with fertility in some situations

In order to provide a holistic rehabilitation programme for our patients, the area of sexual wellbeing can be included in patients’ programmes if they feel ready to discuss such issues. Some patients may prefer to wait till after discharge and come back as an outpatient to attend the service.

Specialised Services

The Sexual Wellbeing service provides information and counselling in a private and confidential setting, and in a non-judgemental way for the following:

  • Dealing with the impact of illness or disability on a person’s sexuality.
  • The direct and indirect effects of illness or disability on sexuality.
  • Information on aids that enhance sexual function.
  • Information and arrangement of appointments for fertility programmes.
  • Individual and couple counselling.
  • Psychosexual therapy if required.
  • Advice and information on contraceptive and practicing safe sex.      

Who is on the Sexual Wellbeing Service Team?

The service is led by Pauline Sheils, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Sexual Wellbeing. Pauline has specialised knowledge and expertise in the area of sexuality and disability, and over 30 years clinical experience.

The Rehabilitation Consultants at the NRH are also available to address any medical concerns of patients and their partners.

The NRH has a visiting Consultant Urologist whose expertise is also available to patients to answer concerns in relation to sexual function, and whose role is important in some of the fertility programmes that may need to be undertaken.

How to Access the Sexual Wellbeing Service at the NRH

  • Patients on all NRH clinical programmes are informed of the service through their clinical team and offered the opportunity to avail of the service.
  • Patients can self-refer or be referred from any member of the interdisciplinary team.
  • Any family member or friend can request an appointment.

Contact details:-

Pauline Sheils, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Sexuality and Disability

Email:  /  Tel:  01-235 5288

Education for Staff and Healthcare Professionals

The Sexual Wellbeing Service is available to assist other health care professionals and agencies to address sexual wellbeing concerns and issues of their patients. The service can provide customised workshops and presentations.

Multidisciplinary workshops are run throughout the year to provide information and increase comfort levels of NRH Staff in raising the issues with our patients.