Recent research has found that integration of palliative care can help improve access and outcomes among LGBTQ+ patients with serious and chronic illnesses.
LGBTQ+ individuals represent underserved populations across the care continuum. These communities have often reported a history of discrimination and bias as leading barriers to both utilization and high-quality care.
A recent survey of LGBTQIA+ people with serious illness in the United States reflects that discrimination issues persist and can impact health care decisions.
About 35% of LGBTQ+ seriously ill patients reported feeling judged by health care providers in a recent study published by The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology journal.
“The crucial need for integrated palliative care (ie, palliative care offered in conjunction with curative treatment, starting at time of serious illness diagnosis) and expertly delivered communication cannot be overstated,” researchers indicated in the study.
About 5% of LGBTQ+ patients with liver disease reported substantial experiences of disrespectful and inadequate care, such as insensitivity among health care providers.
Roughly 20% LGBTQ+ survey participants reported being “treated rudely” by health care professionals. About 12% of these patients’ partners also reported mistreatment, and 10% stated their input on their partners’ health decisions was disregarded. Some reported being denied access to their loved ones in emergency room and intensive care unit settings.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) were among those that identified issues when it came to clinicians’ understanding and awareness of their sexual or gender identities and preferences.
Palliative care consultations and evidence-based communications with LGBTQ+ liver transplant patients could be impactful levers to improve the quality of care received, researchers stated.
“Clinicians should be aware that identity might affect IBD care, and, to enable cultural competence in delivering this care, the patient’s sexual or gender identities need to be known,” researchers stated in the study. “The starting point in providing culturally competent care for those with sexual or gender minority identities is to create an environment of openness that indicates to all patients with IBD that the clinical space is accepting and welcoming.”