Despite legal responsibilities to eliminate discrimination, heteronormative assumptions, marginalisation and staff lacking knowledge around LGBTQ+ issues have meant LGBTQ+ people report being more dissatisfied with health services than cisgender and heterosexual service users (Hudson-Sharp & Metcalf, 2016; Government Equalities Office, 2018). Indirect actions of health services exacerbate ongoing issues; with services failing to recognise a patient’s partner and overlooking the importance of asking about sexual orientation and gender (Somerville, 2015).
Due to lasting implications of past legislation criminalising LGBTQ+ identities, disclosing information around gender and sexuality may prompt intense anxiety for patients (Bristowe, Hodson, Wee, et al., 2018. Palliat Med. 32: 23). There is a need to equip services to manage these worries and overcome knowledge gaps in order to offer high quality care for patients and loved ones in their entirety (Hospice UK, 2021).
Aim(s) To improve LGBTQ+ patients’ experiences of end of life care by:
Increasing hospice staff knowledge of LGBTQ+ issues and terminology.
Building connections with LGBTQ+ people in the community.
Ensuring all written and visual materials are inclusive.
Establishing LGBTQ+ staff champions.
Methods The Masonic Charitable Foundation grant enabled the hiring of an LGBTQ+ Facilitator across three hospices. To facilitate project aims, the facilitator has/continues to:
Create a staff training package.
Make recommendations for policy/resource amendments.
Create and recruit LGBTQ+ Champion roles.
Build connections with local LGBTQ+ community groups.
Obtain Navajo Charter Mark for each hospice.
Training evaluation: questionnaire work to assess the knowledge, skills and confidence of staff supporting LGBTQ+ individuals pre-training and post-training.
Results Intended outcomes include:
Improved access to end of life care for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Improved staff confidence and ability to effectively support LGBTQ+ patients and loved ones.
Increased organisational awareness and action for inclusive practice and policy.
Conclusions Although regularly considered as one group, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are diverse and have varied and distinct needs. It is essential hospices recognise this and are equipped to respond to these needs.
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