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Exclusive C-TAC Member Event Highlights Care for LGBTQ+ Older Adults

By: Neharika Singh, C-TAC Partnership and Programs Intern

To honor Pride Month, C-TAC hosted its first Member Meet-Up event with SAGE (Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders) in June. SAGE is the largest organization in the U.S. dedicated to improving the healthcare experiences of LGBTQ+ older adults. SAGE works diligently to build welcoming healthcare communities and keep LGBTQ+ healthcare issues in the national conversation by supporting caregivers and related organizations and advocating for the needs of LGBTQ+ elders.

C-TAC’s event highlighted SAGE’s training and consulting division, SAGECare, which supplies senior care agencies with the necessary tools to provide culturally competent care and increased access to inclusive services. The discussion was led by Sadiya Abjani, the Director of Learning and Equity at SAGE, who has vast experience with content creation, management of online learning services, and in-person workforce trainings within SAGECare.

“Our work with long-term care communities is critical to ensuring a safe and respectful aging process for our LGBT elders. The tools and skills that SAGECare training provides only serve to strengthen the unquestionable commitment and dedication of long-term care staff by setting them up for success in caring for our community.”

– Sadiya Abjani, SAGE

Abjani described the purpose, goals, and benefits of SAGECare training and provided insight on issues of health equity faced by LGBTQ+ older adults seeking care for serious illness. An expansive history of discriminatory mistreatment throughout our health systems has resulted in LGBTQ+ older adults being less likely to reach out to health providers and access aging services. Abjani emphasized the importance of providing inclusive, safe environments for LGBTQ+ patients to receive quality care. When patients feel uncomfortable, vital health information may be easily lost or ignored by providers, or purposefully hidden by patients fearing discrimination.

Reverend Donnie Anderson, of Rhode Island State Council of Churches, joined the Member Meet-up to share her perspective as a transgender woman on LGBTQ+ discrimination in healthcare. Rev. Anderson’s remarks underscored the importance of culturally competent care centered on respect, the establishment of human connection, and intellectual understanding for those within the LGBTQ+ community.

To advance the integration of these competencies into health systems, SAGECare provides workforce training covering a range of topics aimed at equipping clinicians with the tools and knowledge they need to provide inclusive, quality care for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Organizations that participate in this training are given credentials scaled to mark the education of their providers in inclusivity.  

Jeannine Lyons, from C-TAC member organization, Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI), shared her experience of completing the SAGECare training.

“I was so pleased to see the interest and attention given by attendees to SAGECare’s standards for providing the highest quality of care to LGBTQ elders. I feel SAGECare can help organizations go beyond “open” or “accepting” to become welcoming, equitable, and inclusive providers of highly skilled care to all.”

– Jeannine Lyons, Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI)

SAGE’s efforts align with our 2021 Policy Agenda, which affirms our coalition’s commitment to advancing health equity and dismantling systemic, discriminatory barriers to high quality serious illness care for underserved communities. Discrimination throughout healthcare has long inhibited equitable access to quality care for people living with serious illness and their families. C-TAC advocates for key policy changes that may help address these inequities, such as increased workforce education and engagement. Utilizing education and training services, such as SAGECare, will better equip organizations providing care to people with serious illness organizations to acknowledge and serve the intersectional identities of their patients.

A SAGECare credential is a powerful marker of an organization’s commitment to inclusivity and could help patients and their families feel confident that they will receive inclusive care that meets their unique needs. C-TAC encourages healthcare organizations serving those with serious illness to pursue cultural competency training, like SAGECare, to improve the quality and accessibility of care for the most vulnerable and underserved.

For more information on SAGE and this exclusive member event, contact C-TAC Partnership Associate Director, Luke Scuitto at lscuitto@thectac.org

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