Katherine Kortes-Miller, Jessica Boulé, Kimberley Wilson, Arne Stinchcombe
As lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities age, many individuals expect a need to enter the long-term care system toward the end of life. Not unlike most aging Canadians, this anticipation is met with concern and fear. However, previous research suggests that older LGBTQ + individuals have unique fears often related to personal safety and discrimination. This qualitative study examined the hopes and fears of older LGBTQ + adults considering long-term care as they face end of life. Data were collected from three focus groups in Ontario, Canada, and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Specific and frequent reference to fear of entering long-term care homes was common across all focus groups, as participants anticipated: social isolation, decreased independence and capacity for decision-making, increased vulnerability to LGBTQ+-related stigma as well as exposure to unsafe social and physical environments. The results from this study, therefore, emphasize the need for palliative care specialists and long-term care home staff to address the unique health needs of older LGBTQ + adults nearing the end of life in order to work toward allaying fears and creating supportive and inclusive long-term care environments.
Kortes-Miller, K., Boulé, J., Wilson, K., & Stinchcombe, A. (2018). Dying in Long-Term Care: Perspectives from Sexual and Gender Minority Older Adults about Their Fears and Hopes for End of Life. Journal of social work in end-of-life & palliative care, 14(2-3), 209–224. https://doi.org/10.1080/15524256.2018.1487364