A new audit process for aged care services to ensure better care of GLBTI seniors has been developed.

The 20-question audit has been developed by Val’s Cafe, a support group for GLBTI aged-care service providers.

Val’s Cafe founder and La Trobe University researcher Catherine Barrett told Southern Star she hopes the audit will be rolled out across the state.

“It’s about starting the conversation, and getting people thinking,” Barrett said. “But we also want to have a meaty framework  from which we can get things moving.”

The audit was developed with Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and the ALSO Foundation. A coaching day for aged care staff is likely to be held later this year.

The audit will include questions on whether aged-care facilities provide a friendly space for GLBTI seniors with signage, whether resource material is reflective of diversity, and if aged-care service providers have created an environment of ‘cultural safety’ such as ensuring inclusive language is used.

“The training is not just about technical information. It’s also about shifting values and assumptions and beliefs or at least challenging them to give people more information so they can better deal with situations when they arise,” Barrett said.

“It can be really helpful to have a process set out and to have a set of questions which can be incorporated into the usual [audit] processes.”

Melbourne councils are likely to be the prime target to start using the audit process with the home care and day care services they provide. The Municipal Association of Victoria has been involved in early discussions with Val’s Cafe about establishing better care for GLBT seniors.

Barrett published research in 2008 — My People — which revealed many GLBTI seniors live in fear of aged-care services, concerned about being outed or misunderstood.

The GLBTI health audit is the second of its kind to be introduced this year.

A rainbow tick accreditation system — currently being developed by GLHV and Quality

Improvement and Community Services Accreditation (QICSA) — will establish a formal set of auditing standards to ensure health services are adequately dealing with GLBTI people.
Val’s Cafe has been operating for 12 months and has 78 members.

The next Val’s Cafe will be held in September, on a date yet to be decided.

info: Visit www.also.org.au or contact Catherine Barrett at c.barrett@latrobe.edu.au

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