Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2017

Publication Title

Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care

Volume

13

Issue

4

First Page

284

Last Page

301

DOI

10.1080/15524256.2017.1387214

Keywords

Advance care planning, end-of-life preparation, LGBT, living will, transgender people

Abstract

Proactively making end-of-life (EOL) preparations is important to ensure high quality EOL care. Critical to preparation is the discussion of preferences with one’s primary health care providers. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people often experience discrimination from health care providers that will detrimentally affect their ability to communicate their care preferences. Structural barriers, such as those based on sexual orientation and gender identity, may impede timely and quality care when one is most in need. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of EOL preparatory behaviors among LGBT people, with particular focus on transgender individuals. Eight survey instruments with 30 prevalence estimates found in the literature were analyzed. EOL discussions between LGBT people and their primary health care providers were rare (10%). Transgender people were found to be even less prepared for EOL; they were 50–70% less likely than their LGB counterparts to have a will, a living will or to have appointed a healthcare proxy. A need exists for future mixed-methods research focused on LGBT populations accompanied by the cultural sensitivity needed to ensure their wishes are honored at the EOL.

Funding Reference Number

Ontario Graduate Scholarship

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