Position Paper: Social Care Policies for Older LGBT Citizens

Position Paper: Social Care Policies for Older LGBT Citizens

It is important to note that the gender and sexually diverse populations are in existence in our society. The acronym LGBTQ describes persons who are lesbians, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, two-spirit, and queer. Therefore, this community comprises of gender and sexually diverse individuals. They tend to face marginalization due to their sexual and gender identity that the society views as unnatural. To address issues that the LGBTQ community faces, it is necessary for the public health to create a health promotion policy that will support these individuals. The present policies help to review LGBT health as well as well-being issues, look into limitations that come with population health, public health goals and the recognition of gender and sexually diverse populations. Policies are essential when it comes to the critical analysis of implications of health disparities and help to promote a society that is more inclusive. For example, in the present health care sector, there is the challenge of inclusion when it comes to elderly care for LGBTQ citizens.

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Inclusive health and social care policy for older LGBT citizens

One of the social policies that we have is developing Inclusive Health and Social Care Policies for Older LGBT Citizens. As opposed to illness based focus programs such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or cancer, the policy’s focus is on creating broad and unique wellbeing of LGBT people in elderly care (Concannon, 2009). Drawing from literature from various sources, reveal that there needs to be a social work policy for the elderly to belong to the LGBT. Presently, the social work policy catering to elderly healthcare is not inclusive of this population (Westwood et al., 2015). As such, leaving them out is a failure to recognize that gender and sexually diverse patients are also present in the elderly demography. The recommendation for elderly social work policy for LGBT patients stems from the need to have a more inclusive approach that acknowledges the gender and sexually diverse population in public health promotion needs.

Current social work health policy for LBGT

While elderly LGBT patients tend to face similar issues with the non-LGBT aging peers, the older person in the LGBT community face special healthcare needs and also face well-documented healthcare disparities (Kimmel, 2014). Therefore, the healthcare sector must be ready to have social workers who are able to address the healthcare requirements of the LBGT while offering culturally competent care. Recently, the Association of American Medical colleges created a resource for medical educators highlighting the implementation of curricular as well as health institutional climate changes to accommodate LGBT and gender non-conforming patients (Ward, Purg, & Price, 2014). The push was to improve cultural competence healthcare as well as increase education for healthcare workers pertaining the LGBT people. 

While this is encouraging, it is notable that particular needs for patients belonging to the LGBT that have little documentation on them (Acker, 2010). The current social work policies provide little coverage for elderly LGBT patients among the present medical educational standards (Concannon, 2009). There are concerns that call to action the addressing of a few unique health issues that the aging LGBT population faces. There is a need to look into social concerns, healthcare disparities, as well as cultural competence. Aside from the policies that highlight the inclusion of the LGBT, there needs to be an emphasis on the growing need for additional training that caters for the elderly LBGT patient population.

The social work policy for elderly LGBT is essential in creating anti-oppressive practices in health care service provision (Westwood et al., 2015). The main role is to eliminate barriers that come in between the inclusion of older patients who are lesbians, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgendered and such. At the moment, there are many challenges that hinder inclusion such as ignorance. By having this policy, will allow better care and create a charter for long term care of this community. Having a policy that is inclusive will create a room that will advocate for non-discriminatory services that treat patients with respect, and dignity while considering their sexual orientation (Acker, 2010). The creation of such a social work policy provides the hope that services rendered to LBGT will support them even in their senior life. The policy examines the unique oppression as well as marginalization faced by older lesbian women, gay men, bisexual, and transgendered people. Its design is to shun homophobic and ageist societies that do not want to recognize LGBT people. The strategies within the social policy aim to achieve the involvement of this group in the planning and the delivery of elderly care.

The growing LBGT elderly population

Today, more people seeking health care are about 65 years of age or older (Concannon, 2009). Among them, there are those who identify as lesbians, gay, transgender, transsexual, queer, and such. According to research, there are more than 39 million elderly people in the US who are in the LGBT community (Kimmel,  2014). As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the elderly LGBT community increases. As a result, it is best for psychological service providers as well as caregivers to be aware of the needs and the histories of the LGBT people. Social workers need to be open-minded, supportive and affirming towards the elderly people in the LGBT society in ensuring that they have access to competent and quality health care.

 Caregivers for LGBT persons may also be going through challenges of information. As such, the policy that focusses on elderly LGBT should pay attention to the fact that there are social workers who are oblivious of this growing need. Research studies concerning same-sex marriages reveal that LGBT individuals face a high rate of unmet health care because they lack a regular provider (Fish, 2014). In addition, research has also revealed that women in same-sex unions do not receive timely medical care as heterosexual couples for both primary and special needs. Gay men have reported delayed care in obtaining needed care and prescription medicines.

Funding levels for the current policy approach and the efficiency

It is essential to note that there is progress when it comes to LGBT research on the aging population (Acker, 2010). In 2009, there were funds such as Caring and Aging with Pride that focused on aging, health, and well-being of the elderly LGBT people. There are funds directed to research projects that study the elderly people, their health issues, families, caregivers, and their communities. Census has revealed a broad array of issues such as health, retirement, as well as long term care of the LGBT. The funds put into such project cover issues such as sexual orientation, transgender status, gender identity, and such. In addition, the funds help to show data and accuracy on healthcare related matters regarding the elderly belonging to the LGBT community (Potter & Krinsky, 2014). In addition to addressing the concerns related to health disparities in this demographic, the funds provide a unique support system that caters for quality care.

The effect of the policy on the marginalized, underrepresented, overlooked, or oppressed populations.

The policy of Inclusive health and social care policy for older LGBT citizens is about advocating for better health systems that are inclusive and of quality (Westwood et al., 2015). As such, social workers will provide improved and culturally competent care to their patients regardless of their age and sexual preference or orientation. Resultantly, the by being inclusive of the elderly LGBT patients’ needs, makes it easy for them to access quality services and reduces barriers such as financial discrimination, denial of information, and such. The policy is set to do away with discriminatory policies related to caregiving. 

How the policy meets the needs of the elderly LGBT persons

It is notable that there are no policies that cater to the elderly population belonging to the LGBT community (Kimmel, 2014). However, the creation of such a policy helps to reveal the issues that the members of this community go through. The awareness that comes with the policy calls for social workers to receive the appropriate training to deal with such individuals. While healthcare is not different for most people, the old people in the LGBT have distinct needs that require attention. Therefore, coming up with such a policy will improve healthcare by providing inclusivity hence, quality health care. 

Recommendation and alternative policies

This paper describes how a policy for social workers pertaining to the elderly in the LGBT will boost quality healthcare. We have highlighted how the current LGBT social work policy is not inclusive when it comes to the elderly. As such, by looking at the health disparities discussed, there is a need to come up with a new policy that will advocate for this problem. Quality healthcare should be available for all despite their background. By creating anti-oppressive as well as critical policies, can help to pave the way for a more expansive and inclusive means that make room for the elderly LGBT persons.

References

Acker, Gila M. (2010). How social workers cope with managed care. Administration in Social 

Work, 34(5), 405–422.

Concannon, L. (2009). Developing inclusive health and social care policies for older LGBT 

citizens. British Journal of Social Work, 39(3), 403–417

Erdley, S. D., Anklam, D. D., & Reardon, C. C. (2014). Breaking barriers and building bridges: 

Understanding the pervasive needs of older LGBT adults and the value of social work in health care. Journal of Gerontological Social Work57(2-4), 362-385.

Fish, J. (2010). Conceptualising social exclusion and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender 

people: The implications for promoting equity in nursing policy and practice. Journal of Research in Nursing15(4), 303-312.

Kimmel, D. (2014). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender aging concerns. Clinical 

Gerontologist37(1), 49-63.

Porter, K. E., & Krinsky, L. (2014). Do LGBT aging trainings effectuate positive change in 

mainstream elder service providers?. Journal of homosexuality61(1), 197-216.

Portz, J. D., Retrum, J. H., Wright, L. A., Boggs, J. M., Wilkins, S., Grimm, C., … & Gozansky, 

W. S. (2014). Assessing capacity for providing culturally competent services to LGBT older adults. Journal of gerontological social work57(2-4), 305-321.

Ward, R., Pugh, S., & Price, E. (2010). Don’t look back?: Improving health and social care 

service delivery for older LGB users. Equality and Human Rights Commisssion.

Westwood, S., King, A., Almack, K., Yiu-Tung, S., & Bailey, L. (2015). Good practice in health and social care provision for LGBT older people in the UK. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Health Inequalities: International Perspectives in Social Work. Policy Press, Bristol, 145-158.

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