Getting a rainbow tick is an important feat for organisations around the country. ECH in South Australia wants to make sure it’s committed to safe and inclusive services for its LGBTI clients.

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Older people in South Australia’s LGBTI communities are strong, resilient, and know what they want from aged care providers, according to ECH Diversity Project Manager Robyn Burton.

ECH, a South Australian aged care enterprise, has been on a year-long journey to ensure its access, service delivery, and employment experiences for people from LGBTI communities are positive and welcoming. Part of this journey has involved working with a group of lesbians, gay men, and trans people aged 55 or older in co-designing services for LGBTI older people in South Australia.

Diversity Project Manager Robyn Burton has spearheaded the co-design project, interviewing participants about what is important to them, their hopes and fears about ageing, and what a perfect LGBTI-inclusive service would look like to them. The group then went about co-designing some LGBTI-tailored services that ECH is planning to roll out to the LGBTI community within the next six months.

“One of the main issues for the people that I spoke with is the importance of community and the fear of social isolation as they age,” Ms Burton said.

“Finding and socialising with like-minded community members provides comfort, support and stimulation, or as one man put it, he likes to socialise with his own tribe.”

“Another area of concern for the people we worked with was the uncertainty of whether financial and end-of-life wishes will be followed when they pass away. Many of the people I spoke with have gone to great lengths to make sure these wishes are observed, including making out wills, appointing power of attorneys and advanced care directives, but still being unsure of whether these may be contested by biological family members.”

Along with community engagement with older LGBTI people, ECH has undertaken extensive staff training and ‘behind the scenes’ work in developing new and updating existing policies and procedures to guide culturally sensitive support to members of South Australia’s LGBTI community.

ECH is working towards Rainbow Tick accreditation as a way of demonstrating to current and future clients and employees the commitment ECH has to being a safe and inclusive service.

“The Rainbow Tick accreditation process is rigorous and shows that ECH is serious about making sure its services, policies, processes, recruitment, staff education and marketing material reflect its ongoing commitment to inclusivity,” Ms Burton said.

Head Office
174 Greenhill Road Parkside SA 5063
1300 275 324
www.ech.asn.au

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