St. John’s is pleased to announce it has been recognized by SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older people, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC Foundation) on its Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI). The initiative is designed to promote equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ older adults in residential long-term care communities. St. John’s is the only skilled nursing home in the area to have been named to the list and only one of 18 in the country.
This national benchmarking tool evaluates long-term care communities based on the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ residents and patients. The assessment tool encourages and helps residential long-term care communities to adopt policies and best practices that provide culturally competent and responsive care to LGBTQ older adults. More than just an assessment, the LEI provides resources and technical assistance to bring these policies and practices to life.
“We are thrilled to have been named to the LEI Index,” St. John’s VP of Skilled Services Nate Sweeney said. “One of the most important decisions older adults make is where to live and for the LGBTQ population, an added stress is finding a place that’s friendly and accepting. From Pride Week to featuring real LGBTQ residents in our marketing efforts to the welcoming culture we’ve created ─ we are proud of the thoughtful and deliberate efforts we have made to ensure our LGBTQ residents are treated inclusively and that we have culturally competent policies and practices in place.”
In order to be named to the LEI Index, St. John’s participated in a multi-step process which included: completing a “Commitment to Caring” pledge, taking an LEI self-assessment and then St. John’s had to develop plans for long-term LGBTQ-inclusive goals after its customized needs-assessment report was received.
There currently are no federal consistent or explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. With no federal level protections, half of all LGBTQ older adults in the US live in a state where they can be legally denied access to housing and public accommodations. A recent AARP study found more than 60 percent of those surveyed were concerned about how they would be treated in a long-term care setting. While there has been an increase in LGBTQ support and protections over several decades, thirty four percent of all LGBTQ older adults worry they will have to hide their identity just to access housing. It is estimated, upward of 5 percent of people living in long-term care communities identify as LGBTQ. However, due to a lifetime of discrimination and continued fear, LGBTQ older adults may stay silent and in the closet upon moving into a long-term care community. By participating in the LEI Index, St. John’s hopes that this will ensure current and prospective residents are aware that St. John’s is a fully inclusive organization.
For more than a century, St. John’s has helped older adults live satisfying, rewarding lives regardless of their age. Since its founding in 1889, St. John’s has evolved into three innovative communities delivering a full spectrum of services, from independent and enhanced assisted living to rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, all centered on customization and choice for our residents.
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