Report calls for training for care home staff on LGBT issues

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A report by the Association for Dementia studies has looked the specific issues faced by LGBT people with dementia.

The report was based on discussions with service users, carers and dementia groups and LGBT organisations for older people. It highlights the need to be sensitive and accommodating to specific LGBT issues in patients with dementia, without allowing it to be the entire focus of care. It also points out that dementia can cause patients to become vulnerable to abuse and discrimination.

It recommends added training for care home staff and recommends all groups and individuals involved in dementia care make efforts not assume patients are heterosexual, and to understand and appreciate the unique relationships LGBT older people may have with friends, families and partners.

Professor Elizabeth Peel, who led the project, said: “Dementia affects everyone in society in one way or another. One in three of us will develop dementia by the end of our life and people live for many years with the challenges that dementia can bring.

“We know that LGBT people with dementia are especially marginalised communities, and that the issues impacting these people are under-represented in general dementia groups and charities.

“As part of this project we heard from carers, partners and friends of those living with dementia about the specific challenges they faced due to being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual.

“We heard how those who had overcome great difficulties in coming out, many at a time when being LGBT was classified as having a mental illness, were then experiencing the same problems all over again because of their dementia and they were not getting the support they needed.”

It particularly highlights the sensitivity needed for trans and/or intersex patients, and the unique issues they had faced: “Anecdotal evidence of denial of services has been identified, as well as forcibly preventing cross dressing and deliberate physical violence when people are revealed to be trans within a care home setting.”

The full report can be downloaded here.