WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil-rights organization, and SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older adults, released the first edition of the Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI).
This national benchmarking tool evaluates long-term-care communities based on the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ residents and patients. This initial report does not score long-term-care communities, but instead includes research data on how many long-term-care communities currently have LGBTQ-inclusive policies, and lays out how organizations can participate in the LEI and improve their policies.
Despite significant progress, LGBTQ people lack basic legal protections in states across the country, including consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections. Without these protections, long-term-care communities must adopt their own LGBTQ non-discrimination policies to protect their residents and employees. However, the HRC Foundation and SAGE’s research found that is rarely the case. Of the long-term-care communities where enumerated residential non-discrimination policies existed, only 18% had an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policy. Of the long-term-care communities where enumerated employee non-discrimination policies were found, only 36% had an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policy.
“Long-term care is an essential part of assisting and providing for LGBTQ people as they age,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said. “As this report makes clear, finding inclusive long-term-care communities can be especially challenging for LGBTQ older adults, and more long-term-care communities need to take the lead on LGBTQ inclusion. Together, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and SAGE will continue working to ensure that LGBTQ people at all stages of life have safe and equitable access to inclusive long-term care.”
Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE, added that “equitable and inclusive care in residential long-term-care communities is vital for LGBTQ elders to thrive in their later years. The Long-Term Care Equality Index is designed to both assess a facility’s current services and assist them in adopting policies that promote culturally competent care. We at SAGE are proud to partner with the HRC Foundation on this crucial tool for both our LGBTQ pioneers and the many facilities that serve them.”
As of the release of the report, there have been 78 “Commitment to Caring” pledges completed, which is the first step in the LEI and indicates long-term-care communities’ intentions to adopt LGBTQ-inclusive and culturally competent policies and practices. Additionally, there have been 49 self-assessments completed for 184 diverse long-term-care communities, with 32 states represented. The next edition of the LEI will be released in 2023.