Finding a suitable aged care service can be tricky. It can be hard to know which service is the right fit for you, especially if you are an older member of our LGBTI community.
Here are some helpful points to consider if you are looking into LGBTI inclusive services.
Some aged care providers have achieved the Rainbow Tick accreditation. This accreditation provides assurance to LGBTI consumers that an organisation will be responsive to their needs. These organisations are recognised for being committed to the delivery of safe and inclusive LGBTI services. They’re organisations which are demonstrating their commitment to LGBTI pride, diversity and inclusion, so consumers can expect to receive inclusive services the moment they walk through the door. The Rainbow Tick accreditation process is an important, consumer focused, step towards making sure aged care services are also meeting the needs of the LGBTI community. A list of organisations that are Rainbow Tick accredited can be viewed here.
It also pays to find out if staff regularly attend inclusivity training. This is training that focuses on the experiences and needs of older LGBTI people including mental health care. This is particularly important given many have experienced discrimination and trauma throughout their life.
Some other considerations include finding out whether the service:
- acknowledges and celebrates LGBTI events like Mardi Gras, World AIDS Day and Intersex Awareness Day
- displays LGBTI information at the facility including listing planned LGBTI inclusive activities in their program
- provides access to an LGBTI community visitors program
- offers external LGBTI inclusive services; this may be at an extra cost to the consumer but is valuable to have available.
It’s also important to remember that it’s unlawful for a service to discriminate against an aged care recipient based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Everyone who receives, or who is approved to receive, Australian Government funded aged care has rights that are protected under legislation. These rights are documented in two charters: one for Residential Aged Care and one for Home Care. These charters give every individual the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to live without discrimination or victimisation and if you’re living in a residential facility, the right to be involved in the activities, associations and friendships of your choice, both within and outside the service.
The My Aged Care website has a service finder that can help you to identify home care that can meet the needs of the LGBTI community. Go to https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/service-finder/home-care-packages
I extend a warm hand to those in aged care who are a part of the LGBTI community. My staff know your rights and will talk to you sensitively about any concerns you have. I also encourage anyone to contact us if they have any concerns with the care they are receiving or care that is being given to someone else.
The Older Persons Advocacy Network is another great service which supports aged care consumers. It offers free, independent and confidential services that focus on supporting older people and their representatives to raise and address issues relating to accessing and interacting with Australian Government funded aged care services.
Rae Lamb, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
12 June 2018