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A trip to the doctor’s office can put you on edge for many reasons. Maybe you have a hard time addressing your health issues. Or perhaps you feel uncomfortable disclosing sensitive information to your provider. For the LGBTQ+ community, this is often the case.
LGBTQ+ affirming care addresses these concerns. It encourages open communication to ensure all patients receive quality treatment in a respectful environment.
What is LGBTQ+ affirming care?
“LGBTQ+ affirming care is high-quality, culturally responsive treatment delivered in a safe and respectful environment,” said Tammy Turner, D.O., Inspira Medical Group Primary Care Mantua. “It recognizes the substantial impact of sexuality or gender identity on one’s health.” LGBTQ+ patients deserve inclusive and affirming care at every stage of life, from adolescence to advanced age.
Why LGBTQ+ affirming care is vital
Health care is for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ patients have been historically underserved by health care systems. Many LGBTQ+ individuals experience barriers to receiving equitable treatment, including:
- Negative experiences with health care staff, such as discrimination and prejudice
- Facility environments that do not support inclusion
- Provider inexperience in addressing the interrelated needs of the LGBTQ+ population
These barriers hinder communication between the patient and their provider. “People need to feel safe and respected to establish a trusting relationship with their doctor,” said Dr. Turner. “Developing a trusting relationship opens the lines of communication, helping to ensure the patient’s concerns get addressed promptly.”
Cultivating an LGBTQ+ affirming culture
An affirming culture seeks to address the disparities that impact members of the LGBTQ+ community. One way for providers to establish an affirming culture is by avoiding pronouns and gender terms during initial interactions with patients. Asking about your preferences demonstrates respect and helps prevent embarrassing or confusing interactions.
Furthermore, providers must accept diversity and understand that gender identity and expression are fluid and can change over time. You deserve to be treated by someone with an open mind in a judgment-free environment.
LGBTQ+ affirming facilities create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all patients. They do so by training all staff members on inclusive language and practices. Gender-neutral or single-occupancy bathrooms and non-discrimination policies can also set the tone of inclusion.
Creating an affirming environment enhances the quality of care, which ultimately improves health. At Inspira, we are committed to providing exceptional care to the LGBTQ+ community. “We believe all people deserve comprehensive medical attention,” said Dr. Turner. “Working with our multidisciplinary teams, we strive to deliver compassionate care that addresses each patient’s individual needs with respect.”
Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.