OHCA The Oregon Caregiver Spring Summer 2022

The Oregon Caregiver SPRING/SUMMER 2022 www.ohca.com 24 DEI How do you plan on addressing the disparities in a community that, historically, is distrusting of institutions? One of the major barriers for people to access a variety of services for health and well-being was fear based upon bad past experiences or the perception that future services providers would not be LGBTQIA2S+ inclusive. This included services provided by the state as well as community and health organizations. This is a community that has a history of discrimination and persecution. There are ways we, as the state, and providers can overcome this barrier including providing training and making clear programs to take into account the specific needs of LGBTQIA2s+ older adults. These needs also must be made to the community. One of the things that we’re hearing in some of our listening sessions is folks really want to see signs and indications that government offices and places where services are received are LGBTQIA2S+ friendly. Signs and pride flags are indications that whoever they’re talking to is aware of the community and will be responsive to the community. I think we can do more in terms of our forms and our data collection mechanisms to be able to collect sexual orientation and gender identity information. Having those questions on a form when you’re coming in and signing up for a service shows that we care about sexual orientation and gender identity and that our language is reflective of the intention to be inclusive. Collecting data is a way that we can really begin to understand who we’re serving and who we’re not serving and try to certainly do better in terms of increasing our outreach, our visibility, our friendliness so that people are more comfortable coming to and getting those services. On the external side, our partners and our providers within our aging network can do more trainings as well. I think it’s really important to have that be ingrained in the long term care sector. One aspect that was evident from the survey and the listening sessions is there’s a real fear for a lot of people that there’s a possibility that they will go into a long term care setting, and feel they have to go back in the closet for fear of discrimination and poor treatment. There’s also a fear of how they will be treated when they go into a care setting. There are certainly opportunities for the long term care system to have policies on training, and even changing the culture within their staffing to be more welcoming, to be affirming to people. In what areas do you see the most opportunities for growth in long term care and in Oregon in general? It’s so important to have visible representation of, “this is a place that is okay for me to come, and I will be treated okay” for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. With the high amount of disparities we found through our survey, there were even higher rates of those disparities for people of color. There are some real needs when you’re looking at intersectionality. When two or three different parts of your identity come together, that intersectionality multiplies the disparities and the challenges for people. In general, across our aging services network, social network, health, and medical systems, there’s a lot to be done to be able to have those service systems be welcoming and to be able to provide appropriate care and for people to actually trust that they can go there. Now that you have the data, what are the next steps to finding solutions? When the survey results were published in the form of a report, there was a public presentation of those results. We got that information out to the community members, community organizations, and to as many people as »DEI, CONT. Abuse Reported by Survey Participants* 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Verbal Abuse Excessive Control Financial Abuse Physical Abuse Sexual Abuse Neglect Any of the Above KEY SURVEY FINDINGS: *Respondents indicated abuse was most often committed by a stranger, family member, and intimate partner. Most respondents did not report the abuse due to distrust of authorities (26 percent), feeling ashamed (20 percent), lack of knowledge (16 percent), and fear of having to disclose their identity (16 percent). Six out of 10 participants said they experienced discrimination in the past year. Nearly 60 percent said discrimination was experienced in public places, more than one-quarter said in their place of employment, and nearly one-quarter in said this was in some type of health care setting. The highest rates discrimination reported by survey participants were among participants of color.