It is the responsibility of long-term care providers to provide a place where individuals feel that they are safe, loved, and are given quality care. It is also the responsibility of these providers to encourage inclusion for every person, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation. But is it enough to make it a part of your mission statement and use inclusion affirmative language in the day-to-day care and interaction with our residents?
Cultural competency should be a journey and not a destination for long-term care providers. According to SAGE’s Long-Term Care Equality Index, over 5% of nursing home residents identify as LGBTQ+. Cultural competence training is essential for caregivers. It better prepares them to fully serve LGBT older adults, without relying on the individual, or their friends and family to educate a caregiver. Having staff undergo this training sends a clear message to LGBT individuals that they are recognized and cared for.
Understanding the need for additional training and awareness for long-term care communities in North Carolina, Centralina Area Agency on Aging launched the PRIDE in Care NC training in November 2019, a CMP-funded project that provides virtual train-the-trainer training to long-term care staff, Ombudsmen, and surveyors who want to continue providing this in their facilities. To date, they have trained over 100 care professionals throughout North Carolina.
The three-hour training includes 6 modules that focus on raising awareness and empathy, LGBT affirming language related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and testimonies from LGBT+ individuals about their lived experiences. It provides information about events throughout history that have impacted the LGBT+ community and explores how these events may impact an individual’s level of trust for institutional systems and comfort level with “coming out” in care settings. It will also cover Resident Rights and best practices for creating an inclusive long-term care community, including the review of non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies, incorporating sexual orientation and gender identify questions in intake, inclusion in marketing, and training staff and volunteers.
Additionally, PRIDE in Care trainers who complete the training are provided with training materials that will allow them to provide 20–30-minute trainings to additional staff and volunteers. For those who want to complete the training but cannot due to time constraints, there is an additional no-cost option offered by the PRIDE in Care project through SAGE that is available on the website.
Creating an inclusive community is essential for long-term care facilities who are mandated to practice person-centered care. Educating yourself and your staff is the first step. The Pride in Care Project will end in April 2023 and there are three virtual sessions that are scheduled for February 24, March 30 and April 13. Don’t miss your opportunity for this valuable, no-cost training!
Excellent work by the staff of Centralina AAA for bringing this CMP funded program to North Carolina long-term care communities!