A rainbow tick accreditation system is likely to be rolled out in Victoria’s health system next year to help improve care of GLBTI people.

Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria (GLHV) is currently working with Quality Improvement and Community Services Accreditation (QICSA) to develop a formal set of auditing standards to ensure health services are up to scratch when dealing with GLBTI people, particularly those in aged care.

GLHV director Anne Mitchell told Southern Star the system would be an effective way of ensuring health service providers are more inclusive.

“We think it’s more likely [health service providers] will take note of this if it’s made easier, not harder, for them to respond to gay people,” she said.

“Developing some best practice accreditation guidelines with QICSA is a way of going about it.”

Currently in Victoria there is no formal process of accreditation to ensure GLBTI-inclusive practice.

Last year the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Committee on GLBTI Health and Wellbeing released Well Proud, a best practice ‘bible’ for health services to come to grips with the needs of GLBTI people.

The guidelines are the first in Australia to comprehensively set out a range of ways health care providers can improve quality of care for GLBTI people.

Mitchell said it’s often simple things health services can do to make a difference.

“Things like putting up posters in a waiting room that show two men or two women, or having the gay press available so when people come in they know it’s a safe place for them,” she said.

“Giving staff training so they know how to deal with the sensitivities.”

The Human Services department provided GLHV funding last year to develop the accreditation system and QICSA is now in the process of going through the proposed guidelines.

It’s hoped the rainbow tick will be especially helpful in aged care services, often a hidden area when it comes to recognising the unique issues facing the GLBTI elderly.

Val’s Café, a network of health care workers who promote better health and wellbeing for older GLBTI people, has backed the system and established its own seven-point audit system for aged-care services.

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