Expert Alert

Long-term care for LGBTQ+ older adults

Portrait of Tetyana Shippee wearing a black and patterned dress in front of a white background
Professor Tetyana Shippee. Credit: University of Minnesota

To mark LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health (SPH) is highlighting current research aimed at protecting the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ residents in long-term care facilities. 

SPH Professor Tetyana Shippee is co-leading a first-of-its-kind study, which is  examining the efficacy of LGBTQ+ explicit policies and staff training at residential long-term services and supports (LTSS) facilities in Minnesota. As a social gerontologist, Shippee’s primary work focuses on quality-of-life measures for people in long-term care settings, as well as the role of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in those settings. 

Tetyana Shippee, Ph.D.
“There is a critical need for this research. LGBTQ+ older adults are significantly less likely than heterosexual older adults to have family members providing care, and more likely to need residential long-term services and supports (LTSS). While LGBTQ+ older adults disproportionately rely on LTSS, studies show that more than 80% fear entering long-term care facilities because of potential discrimination, and many LGBTQ+ people in long-term care retreat back into the closet out of fear for their safety.

“Most LTSS staff receive no training in how to care for LGBTQ+ people. While two states have mandated all LTSS facilities receive training in LGBTQ+ care, there are no evidence-based training programs in such care. This study will produce findings that will shine a light on what policies protect or harm LGBTQ+ people in LTSS facilities.”

Tetyana Shippee is an associate professor in the School of Public Health. Her research focuses on what really matters to people as they age, such as quality of life measures (like social interactions with others and meal enjoyment) in long-term care settings and the role of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities for older adults' quality of life.

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