Saturday, July 14, 2007

Culture Change in Nursing Homes: Sexual Orientation (LGBT)

A supporter of culture change in nursing homes, Barry Berman, the executive director of the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home Foundation, says his organization sees a need for skilled-nursing services and care targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) market. The building of what will probably be the first skilled-nursing home LGBT facility in America will address that concern.

Due to misunderstandings or intolerance by others, elders of the LGBT community are sometimes made to feel uncomfortable about their sexual orientations and lifestyles. In some nursing home environments, they may be criticized or ostracized for doing what heterosexuals consider normal for themselves during everyday living. This includes such practices as spending time with their partners, reading LGBT materials, and freely sharing personal opinions.

The Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home Foundation will begin construction next year on a $26 million nursing home complex, which will have specialized units for the elderly with specific diseases and needs. Targeted health areas include Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), blindness, and multiple sclerosis. One ten-bedroom unit will be used by elderly LGBT residents. The LGBT unit, which should open in 2009, will be called the Elsie Frank House, named after a famous openly gay political leader and the late mother of U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton). You can read this “Boston Herald” news article for more information about this specialized implementation of culture change in nursing homes.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the find on this Frances. Obviously this is/will become a big issue, as nursing facilities of all types begin to enroll a more varied population. I guess I never thought of this as a dilemma until now. Thanks again!