Changing position: an exploration of the meaning of sexual well-being for physically disabled people.
Authors: Lee, S.
The aim of my work was to explore the meaning of sexual well-being for physically disabled people and to use the knowledge gathered to inform social work practice with adults. It uses a practice project and research to achieve this aim. The well- being principle in the Care Act 2014 makes this a topical subject for social work practice with adults in England. The study uses theoretical concepts such as humanisation of care services to develop an understanding of well-being focused practice.
The thesis comprises four elements: (i) a literature review; (ii) a research study; (iii) a practice development project; and (iv) a narrative which is interwoven throughout, highlighting points of reflexive decision making. A phenomenological approach was used to collect data through a series of unstructured interviews with six physically disabled participants. The findings revealed that disabled people experience discrimination regarding sexual expression, and this has a negative impact on their well-being. Insights gained from the research led to a practice project based on regard for sexual well-being, enabling social work practitioners, and other professionals, to confidently and knowledgeably explore sexual well-being with service users who wish to do so. Making the insights from this research useful to practice requires overcoming barriers to practitioner engagement with learning and research, and I develop a learning tool and practitioner research network as potential ways of addressing these barriers.
I end this thesis with a narrative review of my work, identifying both potential contributions to knowledge and potential limitations.