The Hebrew Home at Riverdale is the first facility of its kind to develop a policy to recognize and protect the sexual rights of nursing home residents, while distinguishing between intimacy and sexually inappropriate relations.
Nearly a decade ago, in our mission to support residents’ quality of life needs and wishes, the Home began to address the following issues:
What should staff do when residents want to engage in sex?
How should staff respond when sexual advances are made between one or both residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia?
How should staff determine matters of consent in residents with confusion or lost language skills?
When is intervention necessary in the ongoing care of residents who are in intimate relationships?
A grant from the New York State Department of Health assisted the Home in creating a comprehensive staff training video/DVD called “Freedom of Sexual Expression: Dementia and Resident Rights in Long Term Care Facilities.” The Home’s policy and video provide the educational foundation and standard of practice for residential health care facilities across the state and the nation.
“We encourage our residents to express their sexuality in a responsible, ethical and moral fashion, while acknowledging the need for our staff to be trained in taking appropriate measures in cases in which a cognitively impaired person might be involved or the rights of one or more residents compromised,” said Daniel Reingold, President and CEO of the Hebrew Home.