LGBT Ireland will run three LGBT Champions Training Workshops for health and social care professionals working with and supporting elderly people. The workshops will take place over the autumn and winter months of 2021.
As we age, an open and trusting relationship with healthcare professionals is critical for optimal care. Yet many older LGBTQ+ people fear that being open about their sexuality or gender identity with the people they rely on for care and support will lead to intolerance or discrimination.
The LGBT Champions Programme is aimed at creating change in the healthcare system, making elderly LGBTQ+ people visible, safe, and assured that they will be accepted even at their most vulnerable time.
LGBT Ireland has heard first-hand through its front-line services, and engagement with older members of the community, that elderly LGBTQ+ people often feel forced back into the closet when accessing vital services.
Seán, a gay man in his mid-60’s from rural Cork, shared: “I know that many LGBTQ+ people still live with that same fear I felt. I see a need for all healthcare providers in the chain to understand the needs and health concerns of the many groups in society today.
“No one should feel they are marginalised because of their gender or sexual identity, especially when it comes to a person’s health.”
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The LGBT Champions Programme was established in 2018, and there is a network of over 150 health and social care professionals embedding change in over 90 services. There are numerous examples of LGBTQ+ service users who previously had not disclosed their identity, now having open conversations about their sexuality or gender with a member of the Champions Network. This has resulted in the provision of more appropriate care, and the ability to signpost to suitable supports.
LGBT Ireland and the LGBT Champions Programme Workshops are funded by the Department of Health and the Sláintecare Integration Fund. The workshops will be delivered free online via Zoom. The three upcoming dates for training are; Wednesday October 6, 1pm-5pm; Wednesday November 10, 1pm-5pm; Wednesday December 8, 1pm-5pm.
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