Health Disparities Experienced by LGBTQ+ Older Adults

November 2020

LGBTQ+ older adults experience health disparities at higher rates than their heteronormative peers. This article explores interventions aimed at improving health outcomes for LGBTQ+ older adults in long-term care facilities. Specific options include maintaining the status quo, mandating cultural competency trainings for both staff and peers within long-term care facilities, and expanding upon the definition of sex discrimination within Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Utilization of analytical tools, specifically a causal loop diagram, problem definition framework, market failure frameworks, a logic model equipped with assumptions and risks, as well as an outcomes matrix, assist the reader in both understanding specific vulnerabilities that contribute to poor health outcomes for this population, as well as the rationale behind the suggested policy options. It is predicted that cultural competency training is the most effective policy to reduce the rate of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) based discrimination from both staff and peers, increase SOGI reporting from queer older adults themselves, and ultimately improve health outcomes. Although expanding the legal definition of sex discrimination provides enhanced legal protections that would both reduce discrimination rates and increase SOGI reporting, this option does not equip staff with the education needed to develop tailored health services for queer older adults.