Finally aged care workers trained in LGBT issues
A pilot program started by ACON and the National LGBTI Health Alliance that trains aged care workers in LGBTI sensitivities has been given the green light to go national.
The Aged Care Training Project is designed to provide better education, care and support for LGBTI people in aged care, and to help aged care workers understand any difference between their personal values or beliefs.
The Australian Department of Health and Ageing has provided the funding to the National LGBTI Health Alliance, which will allow for state based organisations to conduct training for aged care workers until June 2016.
ACON has so far trained over 120 aged care workers, and have another 30 sessions booked before December for training in NSW, and are receiving calls daily for more reservations.
“We are contracted to deliver at least 100 [sessions] by June 2016 and we are expecting to exceed that target it at the present rate of interest” ACON CEO, Nicolas Parkhill told GNN.
The training sessions define the LGBTI communities, explore the ageing experience for LGBTI elders and also examines the importance of providing inclusive person-directed care.
“It is an interactive, participative session that provides practical tips and resources for staff to implement immediately, as well as advocating for organisational change,” Parkhill told MCV.
“It also addresses the specific health issues faced by our communities including HIV, mental health, and alcohol and other drug use.”
Organisations in other states include Queensland AIDS Council, Uniting Care South Australia, Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, Transgender Victoria as well as groups in Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.
All groups will attend training sessions facilitated by ACON.
Sally Goldner from Transgender Victoria told GNN she was thrilled the funding became available for LGBTI people across Australia.
“The evidence is very clear that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic scenarios occur in aged care,” she said.
“There are good stories about how workers are supportive though, and our aim is to move towards making that the majority”.
Parkhill also said managers from a range of different organisations have been eager to book the free LGBTI training for their staff.
“There has been a great uptake from a range of service providers, both from in-home and residential care providers, and from a range of faith based organisations.
“Although it is not compulsory, many service providers are very keen to ensure they are providing an inclusive service and taking up this opportunity of funded training for their staff,” he said.
Nicolas Parkhill also told GNN he would like to see all aged care workers undertake training to help them better understand LGBTI people, and to ensure that the goals of the first ever National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy are being met.
“That is, to provide high quality inclusive and equitable services that are accessible to all Australian residents.”