Developing inclusive residential care for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people : An evaluation of the Care Home Challenge action research project
Willis, Paul B
There have been substantial achievements in legislative and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older people and their visibility in health and social care has equally increased. These appear to have surpassed the ability of care services to meet their needs given documented concerns about the accessibility, inclusiveness and safety of care services particularly institutionalised care. This requires systemic change not easy to operationalise. This paper describes an action research initiative where six care homes belonging to a national care provider, collaborated to assess and develop their services with the support of local LGBT "Community Advisors" and academic partners. Framed within Rogers' (2003) change management framework and combined with a participatory leadership approach, a programme of intervention was implemented comprising structured activities around seven key areas thought to promote LGBT inclusion. A formal evaluation was conducted involving 35 pre- and post-intervention qualitative interviews with 18 people (community advisors; care home managers and senior managers). The findings are presented across three key themes (1) starting points on the journey; (2) challenges encountered along the journey (organisational and interpersonal); and (3) making change happen; opportunities, initiatives and gains. We make recommendations on the value of a programme approach for achieving tangible outcomes that demonstrate increased inclusion for older LGBT people living in long-term care settings.