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Training for providers to better care for gay and lesbian seniors

But Alliance calls for federal government to better engage with gay seniors

The National LGBT Health Alliance has welcomed the announcement of new training funding for NSW-based residential aged care providers that will build their capacity to work sensitively with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clients.

Funded by the federal government, the pilot program will be run by ACON, the largest LGBT health organisation in Australia, in partnership with Aged and Community Services Australia (NSW & ACT).

Alliance executive director, Gabi Rosenstreich, said the project is a significant and positive step in the right direction. However, it also highlights the need for work on a Federal policy level and for national projects.

“Older LGBT Australians experience significant health and wellbeing issues due to decades of stigma, discrimination and social exclusion. In addition, decades of economic disadvantage have been exacerbated by recent changes to Centrelink entitlements for same-sex couples,” she said.

“The funding provides ACON the opportunity to work in partnership with the Aged and Community Services Association (NSW & ACT) to inform and educate NSW-based residential aged care providers about how to better address the specific social, health and wellbeing needs of older LGBT people,” ACON president Mark Orr said.

The program will create, deliver and review an education program involving 12 workshops across NSW, and will produce a resource developed for staff working in aged care. The program will be evaluated; with a view to a more broad application of this training should it prove successful.

CEO of ACS, Jill Pretty said the project would provide a great resource to ACS members, “some of who are already looking at ways to better provide appropriate cultural care to LGBT clients”.

“ACS is proud to be working with ACON, to improve the health and wellbeing of older people accessing aged care services from the LGBT community. All individuals within aged care deserve to be treated with respect and be cared for in a safe and inclusive environment.” said Pretty.

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