LGBT Elders Raise Serious Fears about Long Term Care Facilities

WASHINGTON — A majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults who answered a national online survey believe that staff of long-term care facilities would discriminate against an LGBT elder who was open about his or her sexual orientation, and more than half believe that staff or other residents would abuse or neglect an LGBT elder.

Released today, the groundbreaking report—LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field—utilizes survey results for the first glimpse into some of the issues faced by LGBT older adults in long-term care facilities.  Of the 769 individuals who completed the survey, 328 people reported 853 instances of mistreatment in such facilities. The survey, conducted from October 2009 through June 2010 did not use a representative or scientific sample, but includes hundreds of personal comments offered by the respondents, ranging from reports of staff harassment to staff refusals to provide basic services or care.

Of the 769 individuals who completed the survey, 284 identified themselves as LGBT older adults.  Others said they were family members, friends, social service providers, legal services providers, or other interested individuals.

“Our hope is that this report provokes thought, raises critical questions, and compels future systematic research that can be used to dive deeper into the issues raised by these findings and the many personal stories we received,” says National Senior Citizens Law Center Executive Director Paul Nathanson.

Some of the comments point to possible violations of federal nursing home law, while others signify that far more training and awareness by staff is needed in addition to enhanced

consumer awareness. The report also points to a wide array of policy remedies that could be enacted to support LGBT elders better and improve the facilities where they reside.  The report’s recommendations are directed toward policymakers as well as long-term care providers.

The survey, website and the report were prepared by the National Senior Citizens Law Center in collaboration with Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). Survey results, comments and personal videos from LGBT older adults can be found as well as profiles of the authors at www.LGBTLongTermCare.org.

 

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