About the research
Care home staff and managers often lack knowledge about the delivery of personalised care to older LGBT residents.
Older LGBT people’s experiences indicate that they are an invisible
and marginalised population in later life and their life stories and
relationships are frequently overlooked by care providers and staff and
managers employed in care homes.
This action research project was motivated by the lack of knowledge
amongst care staff and managers about the identities, relationships and
life-histories of residents who identify as LGBT.
- The project highlights the value of adopting a coproductive approach
through the recruitment of volunteer LGBT Community Advisors and their
collaboration in the planning and execution of the project.
- Community advisor engagement with staff and managers presented some
challenges but also opportunities for individual and group conversations
about differences across sexuality and gender identity. While there was
some ingrained prejudice (mostly religiously motivated), there was
evidence of staff being engaged and willing to address prejudices.
- The evaluation findings showed clear evidence of gains in awareness
and changes in attitudes by managers and staff during and after the
intervention. However, concerns remained about the invisibility of
bisexual and trans residents who are often wrongly subsumed under the
labels ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay’.
- Some staff and managers equated equality with treating residents
‘all the same’ (often based on heterosexist assumptions), which can
compound inequality. While equality of outcomes should be the goal,
older LGBT individuals differ between and among themselves and will
require differentiated provision to meet care needs.
- Engaging in this type of approach with volunteers must be backed up
with training and ongoing support, which in this project was provided by
the project manager. Arranging for volunteers to work in pairs provided
additional support and de-briefing opportunities.