Background The LGBTQ+ communities face many difficulties and challenges in accessing health and social care. These barriers are magnified when trying to access support for palliative care, end of life care and bereavement support.
Aim Since February 2019, we at Marie Curie Hospice West Midlands are ensuring that we are a LGBTQ+ friendly organisation for patients, carers, staff and volunteers.
Method We recognised that our hospice services were not actively promoted as LGBTQ+ friendly. This led to initiatives at both regional and national level to address this.
Results Development of a hospice LGBTQ+ working group for staff, volunteers and service users. Bi-monthly meetings with our aim to ensure promotion, inclusion and equity to all our services for patients and carers identifying within the LGBTQ+ community. Also ensuring our work environment is LGBTQ+ friendly for all staff and volunteers. Collaborative working with Birmingham LGBT and an ambassador visit from Ageing with Pride. Implementation of a LGBTQ+ awareness training programme for staff and volunteers. Initiated a #hospicepride float @BirminghamPride2019 working collaboratively with six regional hospices. Raising awareness of hospice services as well as promoting equality and celebrating diversity within our community. Hospice staff and service user LGBTQ+ education boards have been placed in well attended areas. A stakeholder event planned autumn 2019 to facilitate co-design of palliative care services with our local LGBTQ+ community. We are members of the national Marie Curie LGBTQ+ working group – working on national initiatives and organisational developments to ensure Marie Curie is a LGBTQ+ friendly care-provider and employer.
Conclusion Everyone with a terminal illness should have access to high quality palliative care. LGBTQ+ people can feel excluded from palliative care services. It’s important that we ascertain specific needs and assets to do everything we can to ensure equity of our services for our diverse community.
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