The biggest exhibition for the rehabilitation and aged care equipment sectors is on soon. The Daily Living Expo will be held at the Exhibition Pavilion, Melbourne Showgrounds on May 14-15.

There is an impressive list of speakers on the program and Freedom2Live has just spoken to one of them, Narelle Higson, an occupational therapist with the MS Society in Perth who is making her third appearance at the expo, and her topic is: A Practical Beginners Guide for the (reluctant) Client-Centred Health Professional.

With research showing that sexual challenges for people with disability and chronic illness, along with a reluctance on the part of both the person and the health professional to discuss the subject, makes this presentation relevant.

According to Higson if a person has an issue with this they often cannot discuss it with a health professional, they expect the health professional to speak about it, but they don’t bring it up either. “So what happens is both of them sit there saying nothing about a subject that is very important.

“My message to the health professionals I talk to is that within our role we don’t have to go out and become specially trained sex therapists, but within our respective roles we have the capability to address any concerns they may have. For a nurse it might be suggesting a medication review as this could be causing a problem and a change of medication might overcome that. “

The feedback Higson gets from speaking at workshops is that people do feel more confident afterwards because in many instances they don’t want to introduce the matter as they are uncertain as to where it will go.  “If you have the information to help point the person in the right direction it can help them overcome this hurdle.” Higson chooses items for her presentation that she said are easy to use, adaptable and help solve people’s problems.

While the internet has made it easier to access advice and information in her opinion it does not always translate to the best advice and information. “The media can present a distorted view of sexuality and this may lead people to believe they must keep up with unrealistic expectations.”

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