Pauline Crameri is the co-ordinator of Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care, part of GLHV, at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Val’s is a statewide programme working to increase the visibility, health and quality of care for older LGBTI people.
Pauline has worked in a range of health and human services settings and programmes for the past 30 years, and has over 15 years’ experience in community aged care and aged care planning in local government, including practical experience in LGBTI service development in a mainstream community aged care service culminating in the achievement of the first Rainbow Tick accreditation for the service.
Communicating and providing LGBTI-Inclusive Aged Care through the Rainbow Tick
GLHV@ARCSHS, La Trobe University in collaboration with Quality Innovation Performance (QIP) have developed a set of six lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusive practice standards. The Rainbow Tick standards provide a benchmark for LGBTI-inclusive practice and service delivery in Australia. Agencies that gain Rainbow Tick accreditation will have met a minimum set of competencies against each of the six standards. Through achieving the Rainbow Tick, services can genuinely communicate to stakeholders that LGBTI people can be confident to receive LGBTI-inclusive services and care.
Older LGBTI people in both North America and Australia share a history of widespread discrimination and social stigma. For many their only protection was concealment, or avoidance of services that may possibly discriminate. That was a world many knew how to navigate to feel safe. However, with ageing and diminishing capacity and resources, lack of informal supports, and a likelihood of social isolation, there may be a greater need for LGBTI elders to access community or residential aged care services. In needing to will they face a new world that will either discriminate or fail to understand their needs and the impact of history on their access to and use of necessary support services?
This paper explores the practical application of the six Rainbow Tick Standards as a framework for the provision of LGBTI-inclusive aged care in Australia. In translating the Standards in to practice there are key aspects that need to be considered when providing care and support to LGBTI elders. In particular services and individual staff need an understanding of the ongoing impact of historical discrimination on the lives of LGBTI elders, their needs and access to services. This paper will examine the complex, layered histories of LGBTI elders and how utilising the Rainbow Tick Standards and/or undergoing formal accreditation can communicate and provide safe and inclusive services.