News

Healthcare professionals need more training to support LGBT people with dementia, report warns

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people are rarely acknowledged by service providers, says a new report. 
Dementia nurse with patient

Healthcare and social care professionals need better training on sexuality and gender identity issues relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with dementia, a report recommends.

The document, Foundations for the Future: Dementia Care for LGBT Communities , was launched by a strategic partnership including the National Care Forum, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group and National LGB&T Partnership. It warns that LGBT older people are rarely acknowledged by service providers or care commissioners.

Care home staff do not receive adequate training on sexualities as part of generic equality training, states the report. It adds that education about LGBT people with dementia should be integrated into healthcare professionals undergraduate studies.

Call to action

Launching the report, strategic partnership programme manager Gill Boston said: With rising demand for dementia care, this report provides

Healthcare and social care professionals need better training on sexuality and gender identity issues relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with dementia, a report recommends.


Picture: iStock

The document, Foundations for the Future: Dementia Care for LGBT Communities, was launched by a strategic partnership including the National Care Forum, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group and National LGB&T Partnership. It warns that LGBT older people are rarely acknowledged by service providers or care commissioners.

Care home staff do not receive adequate training on sexualities as part of generic equality training, states the report. It adds that education about LGBT people with dementia should be integrated into healthcare professionals’ undergraduate studies.

Call to action

Launching the report, strategic partnership programme manager Gill Boston said: ‘With rising demand for dementia care, this report provides a call to action for all services to ensure that people are able to access the right person-centred support. Alongside this we need the workforce to be trained and developed by people from LGBT communities.’

RCN diversity and equalities coordinator Wendy Irwin said: ‘Typically older people are seen as asexual, or it is assumed they are heterosexual and cis-gendered.

‘But this approach fails to reflect the true picture. It’s vital that care acknowledges and holistically strengthens the relationships and identities patients have created throughout their lives.

‘This report underlines the importance of recognising that people’s sexual or gender identities don’t cease to matter as they get older, or because they are living with long-term conditions.’

Advisory group

Anchor, one of the largest not-for-profit providers of housing and care for older people in England, has an LGBT advisory group made up of residents and staff. It has been active for ten years and reviewed the provider’s dementia services programme.

Anchor’s head of care quality Rob Martin said the organisation recently worked with Middlesex University to see how staff training, recruitment and care environments could be improved to make care homes became more welcoming for older LGBT people.

‘We want to provide top-quality care irrespective of people’s sexuality or gender identity,’ he said.

Dementia expert June Andrews, a non-executive director on Anchor’s board, said: ‘This report is to be welcomed. Healthcare professionals need to be clear about their duty of care to allow people to express who they are.’


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs