In the United States, over one million people aged 65 or over identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans (LGBT). As this population grows older, thoughts turn to receiving long-term medical care at a nursing home or assisted living facility. According to a survey conducted by the AARP, over 60% of LGBT adults worried that long-term care facilities might outright refuse to provide care, or would only provide limited or substandard care.
Numerous incidents that reinforce those worries have impacted the nursing home industry. In some cases, failure to provide adequate care for LGBT patients or shunning them altogether has led to claims against the facilities. It is imperative that facilities provide compassionate, inclusive care for ALL patients, regardless of their sexuality or orientation. Assisted living insurance is part of the risk management solution. Insurance for nursing homes is designed to protect facilities’ financial assets in legal claims, and with the rise in claims, this valuable insurance allows long-term care facilities to continue operations.
LGBT-Friendly Care Facilities?
Despite societal changes that have reduced or even eliminated prejudices against LGBT people, there is much room for improvement. In the healthcare field, particularly in assisted care facilities, many older people believe a stigma against LGBT patients still exists. Nursing homes have strong involvement in day-to-day issues of their patients, and established policies may interfere with inclusive care.
Among gay men and transgender adults, small or nonexistent support systems may lead to isolation as people age. Once those people enter a skilled care facility, patients may experience systems that are not LGBT-friendly. In fact, a recent move by the Trump Administration has only served to reinforce stigmas against LGBT patients in these facilities. Under direction from the administration, The U.S. Health and Human Services agency has created a new office called the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, designed not to protect patients against prejudices but to provide caregivers a mechanism to voice complaints that their participation in certain medical care operations violated their religious beliefs. The stigma against LGBT patients has led to mental health concerns for these patients and could ultimately trigger a rise in suicide rates among older LGBT individuals.
It is imperative that nursing homes and skilled care facilities implement LGBT-friendly policies and services to counteract these harmful trends. Some of the LGBT-friendly solutions include:
- Specific caregiver training in LGBT patient needs
- Advertising to highlight LGBT-friendly services and living conditions
- Hiring members of the LGBT community in healthcare roles
- Displaying welcoming signs/symbols in facilities and in online resources
- Advocating for patients’ rights, particularly in sexual/gender identification issues
- Addressing institutional and community biases against LGBT patients in a proactive, compassionate manner
The Role of Nursing Home Insurance
With our population aging and skyrocketing retirement rates among Baby Boomers, nursing and other long-term care facilities are seeing unprecedented demand. Along with the rise in demand, so too are lawsuits and claims of negligence or neglect on the rise. LGBT seniors still face significant hardships in some areas of the country, and many fear they will be unable to receive adequate or inclusive care as they age. This has led to a number of legal challenges for skilled care facilities.
Nursing home insurance programs work to safeguard nursing facilities, their assets, personnel, and patients. By providing comprehensive insurance coverage, these facilities can protect their assets from the losses associated with lawsuits, including legal defense expenses and settlement payments. By protecting the facility’s property and its finances, those facilities can provide uninterrupted care for the patients that rely on them, regardless of orientation.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at 317.575.4440.