Discrimination drives many LGBTIQ+ people to avoid disclosing their diverse bodies, sexual orientations or genders in healthcare, which has a direct impact on their end-of-life planning, according to Dr Ruth McNair, a General Practitioner and Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne.

“Fears of homophobia, transphobia and elder abuse can be highly distressing to older people who have faced these challenges in the past. As such, there is an urgent need for the aged care and primary care sectors to address the unique challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ people when accessing palliative care services."

With only 12% of LGBTIQ+ people having an advanced care directive, the need for the aged care industry to address these unique challenges is increasingly crucial.

However, Dr Ruth remains optimistic about overcoming these barriers.

Partnering with LHA, Dr Ruth has long been dedicated to the field of LGBTIQ+ health and plays a pivotal role in the LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) palliative care project.

“Further education within the healthcare sector would greatly improve awareness of issues unique to LGBTIQ+ patients. Encouragement of LGBTIQ+ people by healthcare providers to establish an advanced care directive will also likely have a ripple effect throughout LGBTIQ+ communities, leading to better preparation for end-of-life scenarios.”

Recently, LHA has launched a four-module eLearning program, accessible at no cost to those in palliative care or interested in the field.

These opportunities are centred on providing safe, inclusive palliative care that respects and supports LGBTIQ+ people, ensuring they can access care free from discrimination.

“Ultimately, we need to improve the training for healthcare providers. By utilising LHA's palliative care eLearning program, providers can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities faced by older LGBTIQ+ people, so they can initiate earlier interactions and promote engagement in safe spaces."


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ABOUT LGBTIQ+ Health Australia
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, (formerly the National LGBTI Health Alliance), is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people and other sexuality, gender and bodily diverse (LGBTIQ+) people and communities. Dropping the “+” from our name only occurs within digital formats that do not allow mathematical symbols, such as within our domain name, handles and hashtags.
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