Actions to support LGBTI elders – A guide for aged care providers

CPD Hours: 1
Current as at 16 June 2021
The LGBTI community has a decade-long history of coming together to resist stigmatizing and marginalizing influences, and older adults in this population may remain cautious about disclosing their sexual orientation. Many felt unsafe revealing their sexual orientation until relatively recently, and may still not be “out” to medical providers. When accessing health care services, many LGBTI adults may thus anticipate discriminatory or even condemnatory treatment.

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“Explore LGBTI inclusive information about how health services should cater for their individual personal, clinical, spiritual, social, end of life and palliative care needs”

Course Content

The LGBTI community has a decade-long history of coming together to resist stigmatizing and marginalizing influences, and older adults in this population may remain cautious about disclosing their sexual orientation.

Many felt unsafe revealing their sexual orientation until relatively recently, and may still not be “out” to medical providers. When accessing health care services, many LGBTI adults may thus anticipate discriminatory or even condemnatory treatment from nurses, other staff, or other people in the environment. It is therefore important that LGBTI adults be considered a specific cultural group and appropriate attention paid by providers to their needs.

Due to fear of discrimination, many LGBTI adults may not disclose their sexual orientation to nurses or other kinds of providers. Studies suggest that as many as 36% of older LGBTI adults’ primary health care providers are unaware of their patients’ sexual orientation; and that 20% of older adults identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual and 44% of those identifying as transgender felt that their relationships with other providers (i.e., hospital or nursing home staff) would be negatively affected if their sexual orientation/gender identity were known.

In addition, environments that do not clearly indicate an organizational culture of inclusiveness and affirmation with regard to LGBTI populations may be seen as potentially threatening to LGBTI adults. Another study found that the absence of inclusive language on forms or presumption of heterosexuality in interactions with personnel caused stress for LGBT adults. 

Among LGBT populations, trauma can come from sources ranging from physical victimization to the psychological trauma of existing in a heterosexist and binary gendered social. The trauma of discrimination may be magnified in the health care setting via the dual impacts of stigmatization and betrayal. Stigmatization is the received sense of being in some way inferior or powerless due to some aspect of identity that may or may not be under the individual’s control. 

Learning Outcomes

In this session, you will:

  • Explore LGBTI inclusive information about how health services should cater for their individual personal, clinical, spiritual, social, end of life and palliative care needs
  • Learn complaints procedures and become better equipped to support LGBTI consumers to make complaints
  • Discuss the advocacy services available specifically for LGBTI consumers and carers
  • Learn how health services can demonstrate to consumers, their families of choice and carers what specific LGBTI inclusive practices, policies, procedures and activities are in place 
The Nursing CPD Institute

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