LGBT Elders Express Fear about Mistreatment in LTC Facilities

A majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults believe long-term care staff would discriminate against or even neglect them because of their sexual orientation, according to the results of a national online survey released this week.

Titled, “LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field,” the study polled 769 individuals. More than 300 people reported 853 instances of mistreatment in long-term care facilities. The survey, conducted from October 2009 through June 2010, did not use a representative or scientific sample, but includes personal comments ranging from reports of staff harassment to staff refusals to provide basic services or care.

Of the 769 individuals who completed the survey, 284 identified themselves as LGBT older adults. Others said they were family members, friends, social service providers, legal services providers, or other interested individuals.

“Our hope is that this report provokes thought, raises critical questions, and compels future systematic research that can be used to dive deeper into the issues raised by these findings and the many personal stories we received,” says National Senior Citizens Law Center Executive Director Paul Nathanson.

The report points to policy remedies that could be enacted to support LGBT elders, with recommendations directed toward policymakers as well as long-term care providers.

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