UK Center Develops Team Training to Create Safe Medical Homes for LGBTQ Patients
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 9, 2014) - In a clinical setting, conversations with the patient allow doctors, nurses and administrative workers to gather vital health information. But a University of Kentucky professor's research exposes a need to train health care teams to ask the right questions when treating patients part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
For the past couple of years, Dr. Keisa Bennett, an assistant professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Family and Community Medicine, has studied nondiscrimination policies and basic knowledge of the LGBTQ community among health care practices in Kentucky. She is leading a project at the UK Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education Research and Practice to develop continuing education modules that will train teams of providers to appropriately navigate conversations with the LGBTQ population. The project was recently awarded a grant from JustFund, a philanthropic organization that provides grants for small projects advancing equality and development of the LGBTQ community.
Bennett conducted 19 live interviews and nearly 400 surveys of patients in both rural and urban areas of Kentucky. In addition, she collected information from 64 rural health care providers about nondiscrimination policies, patient questioning processes, promotion of services to the LBGTQ community and other patient care practices. The online educational modules will instruct members of health care teams to hold constructive, patient-centered conversations and create a comfortable medical home for members of the LGBTQ community.
The two modules will cover topics including basic terminology, how to ask questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, and considerations for patient confidentiality. The second module focuses on implementing modes of LGBTQ communication as a health care team.
Bennett said the educational modules will eliminate awkwardness and assumptions that can hinder productive health care conversations between providers and LGBTQ patients. The training will be available to UK HealthCare providers through CE Central software in the fall. She also said the module training will reinforce the importance of creating a clinical environment that is centered on the health needs of the patient, incorporating each person's sexual orientation and gender identity as an integral part of his or her care.
"When all your patients see you as being patient-centered and you have knowledge outside your social group, you will get more patients coming to you who want that from their doctor," Bennett said. "In terms of being models of business and service, I hope these modules will help health care providers have a good reputation in their community."
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, ElizabethAdams@uky.edu