Long-term care operators are being urged to ensure they have non-discriminatory policies in place for LGBTQ residents to ease concerns about safe and harassment-free care in the wake of a new report finding that providers are severely lacking in the area.
“Far too often, LGBTQ older people delay seeking long-term care out of fear of discrimination and harassment,” Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, said in a statement Tuesday. “We must ensure that LGBTQ older adults are protected from discrimination and have tools that they need to age with dignity.”
The HRC and Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) on Tuesday released the first ever Long-Term Care Equality Index, a nationwide assessment of LGBTQ inclusivity and inclusion at long-term care facilities.
Findings showed that 63% organizations reported having resident non-discrimination policies that are fully inclusive and protect residents based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, 62% were found to have included the policy statement on their website — with 83% of them having an enumerated list of protected classes.
“LGBT-inclusive policies are an important foundation for person-directed care,” Sherrill Wayland, SAGE’s Director of National Education Initiatives, told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Tuesday.
“They set guidelines and expectations for how people can expect to be treated, and send a clear message that the community welcomes and supports LGBT residents,” she added.
However, of the providers found to have enumerated policies, only 18% were fully LGBTQ inclusive and protected residents based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, according to researchers.
Just 36% were fully LGBTQ inclusive when it came to employee non-discrimination policies.
“LGBTQ residents deserve to feel at home when moving into a long-term care community,” report authors explained. “Since there are no consistent state or federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, institutions such as long-term care communities must adopt policies that protect LGBTQ residents and employees.”
The analysis featured more than 100 responses from various long-term care communities, including skilled nursing facilities.
The full report can be accessed here.