LGBT housing futures: a feasibility study
The right care for you
Older LGBT people’s housing cannot be looked at without taking care and support into consideration, whether it’s about finding good quality, appropriate care, or having to move in order to access these services.
At the moment, there is no simple answer as to how older LGBT people can access the most appropriate care and support. There are, however, reports of older LGBT people having to go back into the closet in order to be admitted to care homes, or being denied admission to care homes because of their sexuality.
There are no existing extra care schemes with a focus on older LGBT residents. The same is true of care homes. When organisations do have a proactive approach to meeting LGBT needs, this should be identified by regulators, and can then feature in the relevant scheme’s publicity. In 2015, a Care Quality Commission report on a care home stated:
Anchor Trust had a group which lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people were invited to join. A poster about the group expressed the organisation’s commitment to providing services which were welcoming and inclusive.
The message this sends to prospective LGBT residents is clear. Yet it is impossible to know whether this approach is as a result of individual staff at the home, or as a result of an organisation-wide policy.
A mark to trust
In theory, you should be able to choose the care service that meets your needs. The reality, though, is that care is usually provided as part of a care home’s package. If, as an individual, you need to choose a care provider – after, for example, a fall or illness or hospital admission – then you primary concern tends to be about your immediate health needs, rather than your needs because of your sexuality or gender identity.
What’s needed is some sort of quality assurance that can give customers the confidence that the care providers they’re thinking of choosing are LGBT aware and able to meet their specific needs.
Stonewall Housing, along with partners, is developing a charter mark scheme aimed at organisations who work with older people, including housing providers and care and support providers.
The charter mark consists of three parts:
- an initial audit of services to see what the providers are already doing, and whether their services are LGBT inclusive;
- training for staff teams to increase awareness;
- a second audit after the training to see what has changed.
Our idea is for the training to be delivered by community members who have completed one of our training for trainers courses. Thanks to funding from Comic Relief, and working alongside Age Concern Lancashire, we have developed a number of resources. If you’re interested in these, or in attending a training for trainers course, contact Tina at Stonewall Housing.