Expert Alert: Long-term care for LGBTQ+ older adults
To mark LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health (SPH) is highlighting current research aimed at protecting the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ residents in long-term care facilities.
SPH Professor Tetyana Shippee is co-leading a first-of-its-kind study, which is examining the efficacy of LGBTQ+ explicit policies and staff training at residential long-term services and supports (LTSS) facilities in Minnesota. As a social gerontologist, Shippee’s primary work focuses on quality-of-life measures for people in long-term care settings, as well as the role of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in those settings.
Tetyana Shippee, PhD
“There is a critical need for this research. LGBTQ+ older adults are significantly less likely than heterosexual older adults to have family members providing care, and more likely to need residential long-term services and supports (LTSS). While LGBTQ+ older adults disproportionately rely on LTSS, however, studies show that more than 80 % fear entering long-term care facilities because of potential discrimination, and many LGBTQ+ people in long-term care retreat back into the closet out of fear for their safety.
“Most LTSS staff receive no training in how to care for LGBTQ+ people. While two states have mandated all LTSS facilities receive training in LGBTQ+ care, there are no evidence-based training programs in such care. This study will produce findings that will shine a light on what policies protect or harm LGBTQ+ people in LTSS facilities.”