Developing inclusive care homes for older people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT).

Policy implications
  • Providers should provide staff training on social inclusion, focused on LGBT issues. Training methods should include co-produced sessions with the LGBT community and use storytelling to foster inclusion and mutual understanding.
  • Social inclusion needs to be approached as a collective responsibility by all those involved in the life of the home. Care homes should identify LGBT champions to represent relevant issues.
  • Care home staff and managers need procedures and support to develop interpersonal skills to enquire sensitively and positively about residents’ sexual and gender identities on admission.
  • LGBT equality needs to be made visible in care home marketing literature and information and displays for staff, residents and visitors.
  • Organisations need to make their equality principles clear during staff recruitment and resident admission, and provide opportunities for discussion of how homophobic, biphobic and transphobic views do not fit with those principles.
  • Provider management needs to demonstrate an active commitment to LGBT inclusion, for example, through the creation and support of an LGBT residents advisory group and by supporting LGBT staff and recognising their expertise.
  • Care home staff need to recognise how the life-experiences, needs and interests of bisexual and transgender residents can differ from lesbian and gay residents.
About the research

Care home staff and managers often lack knowledge about the delivery of personalised care to older LGBT residents. Older LGBT people’s experiences indicate that they are an invisible and marginalised population in later life and their life stories and relationships are frequently overlooked by care providers and staff and managers employed in care homes. This action research project was motivated by the lack of knowledge amongst care staff and managers about the identities, relationships and life-histories of residents who identify as LGBT. We worked with a large care home provider and six care homes in England to increase awareness and knowledge amongst staff about sexual and gender diversity and social inclusion. We followed a co-productive approach by recruiting eight volunteer LGBT Community Advisors (CAs) to work with us in carrying out an audit of care homes on LGBT inclusion. We devised an audit and assessment tool to assist CAs with gathering key information. With training and support, CAs engaged in sensitive, and sometimes personally challenging conversations with staff and managers. Through our evaluation, we identified clear evidence of gains in awareness by managers and staff during and after the three-month intervention. A ten-point action plan was devised to help take forward these initial gains in the long-term.

Source Policy Bristol: PolicyBristol_Briefing_November_2017_Inclusive_Care_Homes.pdf

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