LGBT elders worry about discrimination in long-term care facilities

A majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender older adults believe that staff at long-term care facilities would discriminate against them, according to a new report.

While not a scientific study, the National Senior Citizens Law Center’s “LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field” includes data from 769 adults who completed an online survey from October 2009 to June 2010. Nearly 300 respondents identified themselves as LGBT older adults; the rest were family members, friends, legal and social service providers. Almost all — 89% — predicted that staff would discriminate against a LGBT older adult. Nearly half (43%) reported 853 overall instances of mistreatment. Additionally, 24 reported denial of medical treatment while 93 reported restrictions on visitors.

“There is deep-seated worry and the fears aren’t groundless,” says NSCLC spokesman Scott L. Parkin. He added that the report could be used to start a conversation with employees about the rights of residents. Among other laws, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) protects those in federally certified nursing homes from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity.