Dr Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Professor of Social Care at Middlesex University, has completed a project with six Anchor care homes in London to ensure care homes across the country become more LGBT- friendly. The collaborative project also included researchers from Bristol, Edge Hill and Hertfordshire University.
Funded by Comic Relief, Anchor - which runs the care homes involved in the project - worked with Dr Hafford-Letchfield to interview staff across the six care homes to understand how staff training, recruitment and care environments could be improved to make them more welcoming for older LGBT people.
“We know that for many older LGBT people going into a care home can be a traumatic experience because they don’t know how their fellow residents or staff will react when told about their lifestyle,” says Brenda Metcalfe, Anchor’s Customer Engagement Manager.
“Many older LGBT people are used to living an open life but when they move into care, some fear they will have to go back into the closet.”
The project involved teams of volunteers visiting the homes to ask staff questions about their views on providing care to members of the LGBT community, and looked at how each home operated.
Dr Hafford-Letchfield then worked with Anchor on an action plan to improve services at their 121 care homes across the country. The aim is to share the project findings so that care homes run by other providers in Britain can tailor the care provided and ensure LGBT don’t feel unwelcome when they move into a care setting.
An audit tool - released on 24 March - is also available so care providers can assess the level of inclusivity of older LGBT people living in their care homes.
“Thanks to Anchor and funding from Comic Relief, we were able to pilot an evidence-based assessment and development tool designed to support organisations developing LGBT inclusion”, explains Dr Hafford-Letchfield.
“There has been a lot of interest in the tool which has been made accessible to other organisations developing their services and whom we hope will help to develop it further.”