LGBTI and Long-term Care Facilities: Creating Culturally Safe Care
An interview with Ms. Samantha Edmonds
Ms. Samantha Edmonds is one of Australia’s leading LGBTI inclusive strategists, policy makers and influencers with extensive knowledge and experience in assisting ageing, aged care and health providers develop LGBTI inclusive services.
Along with her role as a Board Member of the International Federation on Ageing, Ms. Edmonds is the Managing Director of Ageing with Pride. She also currently works as the National Project Coordinator for Elder Abuse Action Australia (EAAA), holds the role of Chair of the Aged Care Sector Committee (ASCS) Diversity Subgroup and a member of the ACSC, which provides advice to the Australian Government on aged care policy development and implementation and helps to guide the reform of the aged care system.
In these roles, Ms. Edmonds says she often expects there to be a great amount of pushback, but instead is often surprised by how open people at all levels are to learn and engage with the topic. The challenge is keeping the momentum going around understanding the lived experience and the impact of the period in which our current LGBTI older population grew up.
“They faced discrimination, phobias, victimization, exclusion – you could loose everything if people knew who you were,” Ms. Edmonds says, “A lot of people still claim they don’t have any LGBTI individuals in their aged-care facilities, and my responses is that if around 10% of the population identifies as LGBTI then they are there, they are just scared to identify.”
The goal of Ms. Edmond’s work is to develop, deliver and evaluate the programs and services offered by aged-care facilities to ensure they are respectful, person-centred, culturally safe and inclusive of LGBTI elders and older people.
“People can’t enjoy the later years of their life if they have to hide 90% of themselves, so it’s about ensuring their dignity and allowing them to live without fear.”
While Australia has led the way as the first country to have an LGBTI ageing and aged care strategy, along with an LGBTI government action plan, and diversity added to the aged care quality standards used for of aged-care facilities, Ms. Edmonds says there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“I hope that one day I don’t need to do this work because it becomes everyday best practice in aged care facilities, to understand each person – what they need, how the community can support them, who they are – and then provide that high quality care that is culturally safe.”
- Medical Journal of Australia – https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/209/03 : Rendering visible the previously invisible in health care: the ageing LGBTI communities, Carmelle Peisah, Kim Burns, Samantha Edmonds and Henry Brodaty
- Podcast with the Medical Journal of Australia – https://www.mja.com.au/podcast/209/3/mja-podcasts-2018-episode-62-lgbti-ageing-and-aged-care-samantha-edmonds
- Understanding the Aged Care Charter of Rights – https://opan.com.au/diversity-peaks-briefing-understanding-the-new-charter-of-aged-care-rights-22-05-2019-230pm/
Australian Association of Gerontology:
- LGBTI Ageing Research Position Paper (including a scoping review of LGBTI ageing research, funding of LGBTI ageing research and a survey of LGBTI researchers) – https://www.aag.asn.au/news-publications/policy-papers/lgbti-ageing-research-project-position-paper-project
- LGBTI Elders in their own words – https://www.aag.asn.au/news-publications/policy-papers/lgbti-elders-in-their-own-words
- Disrespecting LGBTI Identity: A Unique Form of Elder Abuse – https://www.aag.asn.au/news-publications/policy-papers/disrespecting-lgbti-identity—a-unique-form-of-elder-abuse
Rainbow Ageing Project
Alba, B., Lyons, A., Waling, A., Minichiello, V., Hughes, M., Barrett, C., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K., & Edmonds, S. (2019). Health, well‐being, and social support in older Australian lesbian and gay care‐givers. Health and Social Care in the Community. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12854
Alba, B., Lyons, A., Waling, A., Minichiello, V., Hughes, M., Barrett, C., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K., & Edmonds, S. (2019). Mental health and identity adjustment in older lesbian and gay adults: Assessing the role of whether their parents knew about their sexual orientation. Research on Aging.
Alba, B., Lyons, A., Waling, A., Minichiello, V., Hughes, M., Barrett, C., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K., & Edmonds, S. (2019). Older Lesbian and Gay Adults’ Perceptions of Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Health and Aged Care. Health and Social Care in the Community.
Lyons, A., Alba, B., Waling, A., Minichiello, V., Hughes, M., Barrett, C., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K., Edmonds, S., & Blanchard, M. (Accepted/In press). Recent versus Lifetime Experiences of Discrimination and the Mental and Physical Health of Older Lesbian Women and Gay Men. Ageing and Society. Accepted 01.10.2019. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ageing-and-society/article/recent-versus-lifetime-experiences-of-discrimination-and-the-mental-and-physical-health-of-older-lesbian-women-and-gay-men/90988215582414EA0AB7936B6384FC97
Waling, A., Lyons, A., Alba, B., Minichiello, V., Hughes, M., Barrett, C., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K., & Edmonds, S. (Accepted/In Press). ‘Older lesbian and gay men’s perceptions on lesbian and gay youth in Australia.’ Culture, Health and Sexuality. Accepted 20.11.2019.
Waling, A., Lyons, A., Alba, B., Minichiello, V., Hughes, M., Barrett, C., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K., & Edmonds, S. (2019). Experiences and perceptions of residential and in-home care services among older lesbian women and gay men in Australia. Health and Social Care in the Community. 27(7): 1251–1259.
Waling, A., Lyons, A., Alba, B., Barrett, C., Minichiello, V., Hughes, M., Frederiksen-Goldsen, K., & Edmonds, S. (2019). Trans women’s perceptions of aged care services. British Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcz122
Australasian Journal on Ageing, LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Special Issue, Vol 34, Issue S2, October 2015, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/17416612/34/S2