VNSNY Launches LGBTQ-Friendly Care Delivery Model
In an effort to ensure health equity, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) has launched a new model of care delivery for self-identified members of the LGBTQ community.
“We listened to the community. They really wanted us to develop an LGBTQ + program, ”Arthur Fitting, LGBTQ + program manager at VNSNY, told Home Health Care News. “And in doing so, we have evolved so that we can also design this type of care. “
Treating more than 44,000 patients per day, the New York-based VNSNY is one of the largest nonprofit home and community health care organizations in the United States. Its offerings include home health, palliative care and palliative care services, in addition to mental health support and more.
The decision to launch a dedicated, LGBTQ-friendly care delivery model is important because of a documented history of discrimination that is often embedded in long-term and post-acute care.
According to a recent report by the Human Rights Campaign and Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE), only 18% of long-term care operators, for example, have an inclusive non-discrimination policy for LGBTQ. Yet more than 5% of people who live in long-term care communities are LGBTQ.
“Equitable and inclusive care in residential long-term care communities is essential for LGBTQ seniors to thrive in their later years,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE, in a statement. SAGE is a non-profit organization that focuses on LGBTQ aging.
While the report focuses on long-term care communities, it also speaks of a greater opportunity for home care providers. SAGE estimates that the older LGBTQ population is expected to reach 7 million by 2030.
Dubbed the “LGBTQ + Type of Care,” VNSNY’s model largely helps designate the types of health care screening and education efforts that should be used to achieve the best results. In addition to providing information for the care plan, the model allows clinicians and staff to collect and analyze data, as well as results.
Part of collecting data is taking into account social factors that might impact a person’s overall health, Fitting explained.
“For example, an LGBTQ person starts at one level of that intersection, then with an LGBTQ person of color, you add another intersection. … We are able to collect this data by working with the patient and collecting this history, ”he said. “We develop this real profile of those we deal with in a very specific way. Someone can live in poverty, maybe live in a food desert – all of these intersections impact that person’s health.
With this data, VNSNY has equipped itself with the tools to provide evidence-based care, according to Fitting.
For discharge planning purposes, the program also allows VNSNY to ensure patients are matched with LGBTQ-friendly organizations.
“By having this program, they receive care in a safer, more welcoming environment, which is important,” said Fitting.
VNSNY’s efforts did not take place in a vacuum. Instead, the nonprofit home care giant has collaborated with several New York-based social services and community outreach organizations such as SAGE, GMHC, and GRIOT Circle.
GMHC is a community-based AIDS service organization. GRIOT Circle offers member-centric programming for LGBTQ seniors.
In addition, this is not the first time that VNSNY has worked to improve the quality of care for the LGBTQ community. Years ago, the company started offering training to employees in every part of our organization through SAGE’s cultural competency program “SAGECare”.
“SAGECare is one of the pioneers who developed trainings on LGBTQ cultural skills,” said Fitting. “It gave us a solid foundation to work on. It has helped our staff to really open up to the idea of cultural humility.
Although SAGECare lays the foundation for cultural sensitivity and competence, it is up to the individual organizations that have received the training to further develop and use the education to strengthen their methods of delivering care, said Fitting.
At VNSNY, this has also meant implementing a home health program designed for patients with gender affirming surgery. The company started the program with the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in 2016.
Although largely focused on sexual orientation and gender identity, the VNSNY program is in line with the specialist care providers expected to best meet the ethnic or cultural needs of their clients. From a results perspective, launching service lines for large but hyper-targeted populations can increase consumer loyalty and drive organic growth.
Companies such as Circle of Life Home Care, for example, serve Native American communities, on and off reserve in Minnesota, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, and North Dakota. North. Meanwhile, Sahara Home Care, based in Lombard, Illinois, was originally established to serve communities in South Asia and the Middle East.
In addition to increasing consumer loyalty and brand recognition, targeted care programs can also expand an organization’s total addressable market. LGBTQ-friendly home care providers have the potential to eliminate fear of discrimination, which often leads older people to delay care or withdraw from services altogether.
“As a patient, knowing that I am welcome – and that I am being asked for information that will provide me with better care, in particular – would make me more comfortable and confident,” said Fitting.