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Guidance Released to Support Care Workers in Providing Care to LGBTQ+ People in Later Life

Skills for Care has published a new framework to support social care workers in providing care to older lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (LGBTQ+) people.

This new framework was commissioned and funded by Skills for Care and developed by the University of Strathclyde and the Pride in Ageing programme at LGBT Foundation. It was created in collaboration with older LGBTQ+ people.

The release of this framework comes as LGBT+ History Month is recognised across the UK in February.

People from an older generation may have felt they couldn’t be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many will have grown up during a time when homosexuality was illegal or less accepted, and before transgender rights were enshrined in law. Many older LGBTQ+ people still face the impact of subsequent or ongoing discrimination, despite improvements in equalities and the legal status of LGBTQ+ communities in recent decades.

These experiences can still have a lasting impact on older LGBTQ+ people today, and so it’s vital that people providing care and support understand these issues.

Care workers need to feel confident in supporting LGBTQ+ people with all aspects of their lives, including coming out, their personal relationships and support networks, and legal rights – this new framework aims to support care workers in developing their knowledge, skills, and values so that they can confidently support people with this important aspect of their lives.

The comprehensive framework includes a background on LGBTQ+ issues and awareness; a look at health and wellbeing issues later in life, including research about LGBTQ+ inequalities; information on providing personalised care and support covering topics of trans-affirmative care, intersectionality, supporting people with dementia or HIV, and understanding intimacy and sexuality later in life; and recommendations for leadership, education, and service development to continue to improve care and support in this area.

The framework is intended to be used by social care employers, employees, training providers, regulators, commissioners, policy makers and others to build their own knowledge of LGBTQ+ issues, to support colleagues’ understanding, and to create learning programmes which will allow teams to better support LGBTQ+ people in later life.

Oonagh Smyth, CEO, Skills for Care says:
We’re very proud to be part of the creation of this important framework, which we know is something that people working in social care want and need.

It’s vital that care workers are comfortable supporting people with all aspects of their lives and identities, which includes their sexual and gender identity and personal relationships.

We know that older LGBTQ+ people may face specific inequalities and challenges, and care workers need to understand these issues so that they can provide the most effective person-centred support to each person drawing on care and support.

Dr Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive, LGBT Foundation says:
LGBT Foundation welcomes the launch of this new framework by Skills for Care, which is the result of an innovative partnership which brought together our Pride in Ageing programme’s dedicated work around the needs of older LGBTQ+ communities with University of Strathclyde’s excellence in teaching and research around social care.

We would like to thank all of those with lived experience who took part in coproduction sessions to develop the themes of this framework, and we hope this piece of work inspires further conversations across the social care workforce around access to equitable, inclusive and affirmative social care for LGBTQ+ communities.

The new framework has also been positively welcomed across the sector with workers highlighting the need for such guidance.

Luke Adams-Fallon, an independent adult social care consultant, said:
This long awaited, and much needed learning framework not only fills a gap but also provides an opportunity for real recognition of serious issues and a step forward in valuing diversity.

Rachael Williams, Dual sensory loss and deafblind specialist worker, said:

Not only do we need to use professional curiosity to explore the intersectionality of a person, but also be mindful of the laws and environments that have been part of their life journey.

View the framework.


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