Increasing Numbers of LGBT Seniors May Require Additional Training For Nursing Home Workers

There is a growing population of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors who face certain challenges in addition to those that come with growing older. Although a growing number of states now have legislation protecting individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in areas such as education, employment, and marriage, nursing homes and other assisted care facilities often must decide for themselves how to handle the changing demands.

According to an article in the Boston Globe, 80 percent of LGBT seniors in Massachusetts are afraid to reveal their sexual orientations to care providers, and they are also unlikely to seek continued care for the same reason. These numbers are likely representative of other states, as well.

The problem is complex. While LGBT seniors’ fears are often substantiated, their unwillingness to come out in their assisted living communities makes others unwilling to reveal their sexual orientations either. Providing adequate training to nursing home staff specifically on the issue of LGBT senior care is part of the solution.

It is also important that supervisors be extra diligent in ensuring that LGBT seniors are not subject to abuse or neglect by their supposed caregivers. If an individual wishes not to come out, an abusive employee could use knowledge of their secret to extort the resident or otherwise use it against her. Less obvious would be instances of neglect. A worker might express disapproval of a resident’s sexual orientation by being neglectful of care.

LGBT seniors also face a risk of abuse from their fellow residents. While that risk is present for any resident, LGBT individuals tend to be more susceptible to it. The onus is on the nursing home employees to notice when inter-resident abuse occurs and to stop it.

If you or a loved one has experienced or is experiencing nursing home abuse or neglect, you should not hesitate to contact a Maryland nursing home abuse attorney. While some behavior rises to the level of criminal conduct, it is the civil system that can provide compensation to the victim. Do not attribute failure to administer medicines correctly to forgetfulness or overwork. All nursing homes and their workers owe a duty of care to residents. Particularly with residents who depend on the workers for nutrition, sanitation, and other medical needs, that duty of care requires affirmative action by the workers to ensure the safety and health of residents.

The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals in Maryland who have been injured as a result of nursing home abuse or negligence. Call today at 800-654-1949, or contact us online to schedule your free confidential consultation.

Related Blog Posts:
Hyattsville Nursing Home Under Investigation for Alleged Neglect, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, November 14, 2012
Nurse’s Aide Gets Five Years in Prison for Stealing Nursing Home Residents’ Wedding Bands, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, October 11, 2012

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