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January 30, 2009
Toolkit focuses on supporting long-term care homes in providing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) positive care
  
Today, the City of Toronto launched an LGBT toolkit designed to enhance cultural competence within Toronto’s long-term care homes in providing inclusive care and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, partners and their friends.

In discussions with LGBT representatives, the City learned that many LGBT seniors did not consistently feel safe in disclosing their sexual identity or orientation to mainstream healthcare providers due to a fear of discrimination. This affected their sense of personal well-being. Long-Term Care Homes and Services Division set out to address this barrier within long-term care. The division worked with the LGBT community to more fully understand community needs and to create a care and service culture and model in which all residents’ histories and traditions are honoured and preserved.

Building on the early successes achieved at Fudger House in providing LGBT-positive care, the division formed an advisory committee, extending this LGBT-positive approach to Kipling Acres and True Davidson Acres and collaborating with colleagues from the LGBT community to create a toolkit to further guide staff in long-term care homes in providing culturally competent care.

The toolkit contains resources, training plans, programs and activities that help enhance sensitivity and responsiveness to LGBT issues and educate staff with the goal of making each long-term care home an LGBT-positive, inclusive and welcoming environment for all residents. The toolkit guides long-term care homes in identifying the systemic barriers that may need to be addressed in achieving an LGBT-positive and inclusive environment. It acknowledges the complexities of a long-term care home environment and includes a self assessment/checklist approach to chart out each home’s quality improvement road map. Although initially designed for Toronto’s homes, the toolkit will be made available to help other long-term care organizations in their efforts to become LGBT-positive and inclusive.

“Our long-term care homes are leading the way in supporting and respecting the diversity of all Torontonians,” said Councillor Kyle Rae (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale). “The toolkit is a great resource guide for long-term care homes and it demonstrates our belief that LGBT residents have the right to live their lives in an open, dignified fashion.”

The toolkit was developed in collaboration with a dedicated and vibrant advisory committee, which provided expert advice and insight. The LGBT Steering Committee included City staff, volunteers, representatives of local advocacy organizations and representatives of community agencies that provide services to the LGBT community. The toolkit sets the foundation for long-term care homes to become more accessible and inclusive for LGBT residents.

“We knew that there was an opportunity to improve the experience for LGBT seniors who require long-term care and we were proud to work with community partners in developing this toolkit. It was the right thing to do,” said Sandra Pitters, General Manager, Long-Term Care Homes and Services. “Everyone has the right to dignity, respect and comfort in their home. The toolkit encourages increased awareness, sensitivity, education and community linkages, and is intended to achieve better outcomes for LGBT seniors. We measure our effectiveness by how well we serve the public.”

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Sandra Pitters, General Manager, Long-Term Care Homes and Services, 416-392-8907, spitters@toronto.ca



 

 

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