Integrating the needs of LGBT+ older adults into health and social care education
Zdravje starostnikov / Health of the Elderly
Non-normative sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression at the intersection of old age, represent diverse risks of discrimination and social exclusion, and at the same time can include many negative consequences for a person's health and sense of security. In old age, the situation may worsen, as LGBT+ older adults are less likely to access various forms of support that could trigger coming out of the closet. Research shows that inequalities in health and social care of LGBT+
... er adults persist due to the lack of inclusive services and cultural competence of health and social care practitioners. Methods: The partners of the European project "Being Me" took up the challenges presented and explored good educational practices on the needs and specific living conditions of LGBT+ older adults using the innovative participatory method "World Café" (a method of group dialog). In 2018, two "World Cafés" were organized with a total of 78 stakeholders (LGBT+ older adults, practitioners, researchers, students, professors and teachers). An evaluation of both events was conducted using questionnaires. The project also included research into the national contexts of the participating partners and the publication of two systematic literature reviews on approaches to education on LGBT+ older adults and the impact of such education on health and social care staff. Results: In the first World Café, participants shared their personal experiences of care, highlighted the role of teachers in health and social care, and formulated initial ideas about the knowledge and skills that future practitioners should be equipped with to provide more inclusive and safe care. The second World Café was dedicated to researching specific methods and useful resources for delivering trainings and using them in education. A systematic review of the literature and both World Cafés led to the development of online learning materials and principles of good practice for all who educate in the field of health and social care. The World Café method has proved to be an effective approach to linking the diverse views of participants and the participatory development of learning content, as evidenced in the evaluation findings. Discussion and conclusions: LGBT+ older adults represent one aspect of an increasingly diverse group of people whose need for health and social care services is growing in an aging society. In the future, staff training in these areas will need to address the needs of LGBT+ older adults, as providers of these services have a key role in delivering friendly and inclusive care to LGBT+ older adults.