In 2012 when the Australian Government’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex – Ageing and Aged Care Strategy was launched, this aged care home decided to complete an internal audit to look at becoming a more inclusive facility. This direction became important in 2014 when a male care recipient was admitted into the facility and came out to staff with his desire to work towards his goal to live as a woman.
The home was able to identify the best pathway to support the care recipient to make the transition to her new gender identity in a fully integrated and considered way. It was vital to ensure the home recognised the history of inequitable treatment, rejection, social isolation and persecution towards gender diverse people and the effect this may have.
Focusing on a multidisciplinary approach that involved education, support and information, the home was able to operationalise an accepting and inclusive culture around gender and sexuality for all its people.
The home reviewed the resources available flowing from the national strategy, and developed a plan based on the goals in the strategy process involving collaboration with a multidisciplinary team, review of policies and procedures, building a working partnership with industry expertise and providing ongoing education for staff to enable inclusiveness.
With the assistance and support of management and staff throughout his time in the home, this care recipient has successfully transitioned into living life as a woman. The home continues to be responsive to the changing goals that have arisen in her journey, the care recipient was able to be known as a woman and to feel that her transition was not only possible, but essential for her psycho-social health. For the first time in her life, she is now living as a woman.
The home has now developed and implemented an inclusive and empowerment culture through a sustained education program, winning a 2015 Commonwealth Better Practice Award for transitioning a culture successfully to support gender diversity. The home is confident that a genuine culture shift has been made.
The next step is to be the first aged care home in the state to achieve the national Rainbow Tick endorsement with roll-out to 24 other homes and two home care services to follow to allow for a full continuum of care for gender diverse older people.