The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and SAGE, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ seniors, have released the first edition of their Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI). The index evaluates long-term care communities nationwide based on the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ residents and patients.
The LEI does not yet score long-term care communities but instead includes research data on how many currently have LGBTQ-inclusive policies. The benchmarks of LGBTQ inclusion determined by the LEI are foundational policies and practices, resident services and support, employee benefits and policies, and resident and community engagement.
Of the long-term care communities where enumerated residential non-discrimination policies existed, only 18 percent had an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policy. Of those that had employee non-discrimination policies, only 36 percent were LGBTQ-inclusive.
“Long-term care is an essential part of assisting and providing for LGBTQ people as they age,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “… As this report makes clear, finding inclusive long-term care communities can be especially challenging for LGBTQ older adults, and that more long-term care communities need to take the lead on LGBTQ inclusion.”
The LEI also includes a list of Pioneering Participants. 78 care communities who participated in the LEI signed the Commitment to Caring Pledge as an indication of their intention to adopt LGBTQ inclusive policies and practices, and 49 went on to complete a self-assessment of their LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices.
Seven communities in Georgia participated in the LEI: Barrington Square in Ackworth, Athena Gardens in Athens, Cedar Heights in Cedartown, Magnolia Grove in Jackson, Laurel’s Edge in Kennesaw, The Villas in Rome, and Winding Hollow in Winder.
“Equitable and inclusive care in residential long-term care communities is vital for LGBTQ elders to thrive in their later years,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “The [LEI] is designed to both assess a facility’s current services and assist them in adopting policies that promote culturally competent care. We at SAGE are proud to partner with the HRC Foundation on this crucial tool for both our LGBTQ pioneers and the many facilities that serve them.”