A new pilot training module has been launched for health and social care professionals to support them to provide culturally competent palliative and end-of-life care for people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and their families.

Initiated by Saint Francis Hospice, the module is based on current guidance from Marie Curie, Care Quality Commission, the National Council for Palliative Care and national and international research. It is designed for any health or social care professional providing palliative and end-of-ife care for people from the LGBT community and their partners and families.

The module aims to increase awareness about the specific needs of those from the LGBT community receiving palliative and end-of-life care. It is also aimed at supporting health and social care professionals to provide culturally competent service for people from the LGBT community and their families within a palliative care context.

The one-hour training module will be piloted amongst health and social care professionals who work as part of a hospice service across London, Kent, Essex and Surrey and it will be delivered at Saint Francis Hospice, Romford. The training can also be delivered at other hospices upon request.

The training will be evaluated using brief pre and post-session questionnaires. Also, a small number of participants will be asked to participate in a short interview that will focus on their experiences of the training module.

Despite the considerable social change that the UK has witnessed in relation to LGBT rights, inequality and discrimination remain a reality for many,’ explained Claude Chidiac, Lecturer in Palliative Care, based at the Pepperell Education Centre at Saint Francis Hospice and Principal Investigator for the training project.

‘The limited available evidence demonstrates that LGBT people receive inequitable and suboptimal care at the end-of-ife. This is mainly due to assumed heterosexuality, lack of knowledge and understanding amongst health and social care professionals about LGBT needs and homophobia.

’It is our hope that this module will enhance health and social care professionals’ understanding of LGBT needs and provide them with the skills necessary to deliver LGBT-inclusive service.’

The hospice’s Director of Quality and Care, Tes Smith, added, ‘I am delighted that Claude, with our support, has developed this module. This is key to us understanding and delivering congruent person centred care in end-of-life.

‘I am so clear that we must look at the individual and ask ‘who they are and what’s important to them?’. I know that unfortunately there are still some within our communities that we still aren’t all getting it right for. To that end, I know this module will help develop workers to increase their knowledge, skills and understanding for those people that come into the LGBT umbrella term.

‘It is all of our responsibility to keep striving to support and train people to become the very best they can in health and social care to ensure equality of provision and service.’

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