Background People who identify as LGBTQ+ are at an increased risk of certain serious health conditions including types of cancer and so it is vital that this group of people feel able to access palliative care services. In 2014, Marie Curie commissioned research which highlighted a lack of evidence about LGBTQ+ people’s experience of palliative care. A recent study identified that individuals may feel unable to spontaneously disclose their identity to healthcare staff due to prior experience of discrimination. Therefore, it is important that all staff feel confident in talking to patients about sexual orientation.
Method Review of patient records to identify how many patients admitted to hospice over the past 6 months have been asked their sexual orientation. Development of a 3-hour interactive LGBTQ+ staff training programme. Review of written feedback from these sessions to analyse how this was received by staff.
Results Over the past 6 months, 146 patients were admitted. 52% had been asked their sexual orientation. Small group LGBTQ+ teaching sessions were provided, where interactivity was promoted with activities such as a quiz and word-search. Feedback indicating that this was a valuable learning opportunity for staff. Quotes included, ‘more aware of LGBTQ+ terms that patient may use and what they mean’, ‘increased awareness and has made me more confident to ask’, ‘session highlighted the importance of continuing to treat patients as individuals’.
Discussion Marie Curie has made great strides both locally and nationally to ensure LGBTQ+ patients feel welcome. New training sessions have been provided to ensure that all staff feel confident in being able to openly discuss LGBTQ+ issues and feedback from this has been extremely positive. We plan to re-review the data in 6 months to ensure that more patients are being offered the opportunity to disclose their sexual orientation on admission.
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