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Sexuality in Long-Term Care: Finding Ways to Balance the Expression of Sexuality While Minimizing Associated Risks and Protecting Vulnerable Residents

Cindy Webb presents the difference between sexual and non-sexual behavior, how our individual value systems make the job more difficult and influence the way we respond. She will discuss ways to determine consent and when it’s necessary to intervene and notify appropriate entities. Cindy will recommend interventions and provide case studies.   

Cindy has been a long-term care Ombudsman with the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) since 2003, specializing in nursing homes. She has developed a variety of trainings for staff and residents in long-term care, including sexuality, dealing with difficult personalities and taking care of oneself. She is currently working with nursing home residents to develop a bullying prevention program in their community. Cindy is a member of the Arapahoe County Adult Protection Team and serves on the Nursing Home Innovation Grants Board, a Governor-appointed entity charged with dissemination and oversight of civil monetary penalty funds for use in implementing quality of life projects for those who reside in Colorado nursing homes. She is co-founder of the Community Healthcare Ethics Committee and is currently working to form a committee of stakeholders to address placement issues for specialized populations for whom there are limited options.

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Eventbrite - Sexuality and Aging Part 2: Sexuality in Long-term Care, Financial & Personal Safety Issues Confronting Caregives & Institutions Responsible for At-Risk Adults, Ethical Issues of Sexuality and Aging

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Navigating the Ethical Terrain of Sexuality and Aging

The sexual embrace can only be compared with music and with prayer.
- Marcus Aurelius

Deb Bennett-Woods explores ethical concepts that can facilitate decision-making in both individual cases and institutional policy.  Sexuality and sexual intimacy are core elements of human identity.  Although their expression may evolve and change over the lifespan, they don’t simply disappear with age as many of us would prefer when faced with the prospect of sexual activity in elderly relatives or clients.  Efforts by family or service providers to minimize or eliminate sexual intimacy, whether it be the blossoming romance of a widowed parent or the living arrangements of married nursing home residents who are frail or have diminished decisional capacity, are often well intended and sometimes necessary.  However, such restrictions can come at a high cost to the elders involved.  Dignity, autonomy and independence are threatened.  The harmful impact to health and well-being may be greater than any perceived benefits of safety.   Restrictions based on personal bias, stereotypes, misinformation, or just facility convenience are unjust and may constitute a violation of fundamental rights to privacy and liberty.  At the same time, elders can be vulnerable and the duty to protect and promote their well-being forces us to walk a fine line between competing ethical obligations.

Deb Bennett-Woods is a professor in the Division of Health Services Education and serves in the Center for Ethics and Leadership in the Health Professions at Regis University in Denver, CO.  She currently teaches courses with an applied focus in health care ethics across all graduate and undergraduate programs in the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions.  Prior to 2000, she was the Director of the Department of Health Services Administration where she administered a variety of programs.  Deb is a frequent conference speaker and has published on a range of topics in the areas of ethics and leadership, including her book Nanotechnology: Ethics and Society.   Her primary research and scholarship has been in the area of emerging technologies in health care. 

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Legal and Ethical Issues Confronting Caregivers and Institutions Responsible for At-Risk Adults

Judge Stephen M. Munsinger will introduce two scenarios for discussion of the legal and ethical issues confronting caregivers and institutions responsible for at-risk adults. The scenarios will focus on financial & personal safety issues.

Now retired, Judge Munsinger’s career in law includes Denver District Attorney’s Office, Chief Deputy District Attorney for various divisions. He served as Assistant United States Attorney Chief of Criminal Division in Denver. Judge Munsinger presided as District Court Judge, Chief Judge for Division 11, First Judicial District Jefferson County, Colorado. He is also experienced in General Practice of Law and Litigation.

Professionals Who Should Attend
Social work practitioners, medical, psychologists and mental health, legal/judicial, law enforcement officials and personnel, home care placement agencies, court-appointed guardians and conservators, community-center board staff and clergy. All of the above – whether paid or unpaid.

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Resources:

Guardianship Alliance of Colorado. GAC teaches the skills to act as a guardian for a loved one at the Guardianship Petition Assistance class. They provide training for volunteer guardians to act in the best interests of an adult who has no one to rely on. CAC offer guidance and support to current adult guardians at a Guardian Training class. Referrals are provided to professionals who can assist you. They make presentations on many aspects of guardianship to your group and conduct in-services at your business or facility.   www.guardianshipallianceofcolorado.org

The Colorado Department of Human Services Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (Ombudsman Program) assists residents of licensed long-term care facilities in protecting their health, safety, welfare and rights. In Colorado, long-term care ombudsman are advocates for residents of nursing homes, assisted living residences, and similar licensed adult long-term care facilities. They work to resolve individual resident issues and to bring about change at the local, state and national level to improve long-term care. Trained ombudsmen regularly visit long-term care facilities, monitor conditions and care, and provide a voice for those unable to speak for themselves.

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