End of Life Care for LGBT People

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2016 National LGBT Conference
25 July 2016
Carried as Amended

Research by the Marie Curie Charity “Hiding who I am – the reality of end of life care for LGBT People” shows that many older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have significant fears about palliative and end of life care services. They are concerned that service providers and health and social care professionals will be indifferent to their sexuality and gender identity, or, at worst, actively hostile. The research highlights real barriers that LGBT people have experienced in trying to access high-quality palliative and end of life care. These range from outright discrimination, such as a doctor who would not treat a lesbian without a chaperone, to more common place but no less damaging issues, such as the experience of having to come out to each new healthcare professional encountered.

The end of someone’s life is a time of significant vulnerability, both for the person who is dying and for the family they choose to have around them. Service providers and health and social care professionals can do significant and long-lasting damage to people by being insensitive or actively hostile to people’s sexuality or gender identity at this time.

Conference asks that that the national LGBT committee publicise this research within Unison health and social care forums and ask them to urge employers to provide training for their staff on the specific concerns of LGBT people at the end of life, including in the context of home care services.