Ageing and end of life care: LGBTI issues for training and research

Presentation Type: Oral
Conference Stream: Ageing and Aged Care
Presenter: Philomena Horsley
Presentation Title: Ageing and end of life care: LGBTI issues for training and research
Room: Fitzroy
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 17:00
Duration: 20 mins


Most Australians die in hospitals or palliative care units, one in seven die at home, and residential aged care facilities are increasingly the place of death for people with terminal conditions. In all these contexts LGBTI people (including carers) generally engage with staff who are under-educated about their specific needs and concerns.

‘Treating people equally’ and ‘everyone is a unique, with individual needs’ are approaches that are fundamental to the philosophies of the palliative care and aged care sectors. However, such approaches can diminish or obscure the specific needs of our diverse population. For instance, large-scale comparative research suggests that gay, lesbian and bisexual patients living with cancer have less positive experiences than heterosexual patients when interacting with the health system. GLHV has provided some consultancy to Palliative Care Australia as they develop their policy on LGBTI people, but the sector remains largely uninformed about our concerns.

In this paper I reflect on the experience of training staff who care for older people in different settings, particularly those providing end-of-life care. In particular I focus on: the challenges that participants identified in their feedback; the obstacles that exist for organisations wanting to be inclusive of LGBTI diversity in relation to patients, residents and carers; and the questions that remain unanswered by current research.