Health workers show LGBT bias: study

Healthcare workers may be biased regarding the sexual orientation of their patients, according to researchers from the University of Washington.

Researchers compared attitudes of more than 200,000 physicians, nurses and other providers towards heterosexual versus lesbian or gay patients over six years. The study is believed to be the first  to examine healthcare provider attitudes when treating gay or lesbian patients. 

Results found heterosexual nurses had the strongest preference for heterosexual men over gay men, while gay and lesbian healthcare providers favored gay and lesbian patients. Researchers said they believe the results reflect attitudes where individuals tend to favor those who share their sexual orientation.

The study's results show how LGBT care isn't addressed in most nursing, medicine or healthcare areas, according to Janice Sabin, Ph.D., lead investigator and research associate professor. 

Nursing homes have come under fire in the past for lack of acceptance and training when treating gay or lesbian seniors. In February, the American Geriatrics Society called for new policies to treat the population more fairly.