Evidence & Practice
Making the healthcare needs of LGBT patients a priority
Sarah Mehta Freelance health writer, Debenham, Suffolk, England/Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Gaps in knowledge about the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) patients, as well as a lack of confidence among healthcare professionals (HCPs), means healthcare services frequently fail to support LGBT patients adequately. This article addresses many of the practical ways in which HCPs can consider how to provide better care to LGBT patients.
It is important to ensure patients feel comfortable by using open-ended questions, inclusive and sensitive language, and offering non-judgmental support. LGBT-specific health knowledge, including sexual health, is essential, but issues that disproportionately affect this cohort, such as mental health and addiction, must not be overlooked.
LGBT patients can also be supported by HCPs who take proactive steps to ensure policies of non-discrimination and confidentiality are visible, and ensure that LGBT relationships are acknowledged and homophobia is challenged in the workplace.
There is urgency for improvements that address the needs of LGBT patients. However, many healthcare providers are already receiving recognition for best practice and individual HCPs can make all the difference by reflecting on the small ways in which their practice can transform experiences for LGBT patients.
Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2017.e1233Correspondence
This article has been subject to external double-blind review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Received: 12 October 2016
Accepted: 04 January 2017
Published online: 10 April 2017