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Improving ED Care for LGBT Patients

Improving ED Care for LGBT Patients

As the patient census has become increasingly diverse, it has become more challenging for EDs to provide quality care in emergency situations. Studies show that marginalized populations face greater social inequalities and healthcare disparities, placing them at higher risk for diseases and death. One patient group that is not immune to these disparities is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Approximately 9 million people in the United States identify themselves as LGBT. “It’s important for emergency physicians to better understand the disparities and health risks that LGBT patients face in order to communicate more effectively with these individuals,” says Sara Jalali, MD. “An inherent challenge with treating this patient population is that sexual orientation and gender identity are not always evident. In many cases, patients hide this information from their healthcare providers for fear of discrimination. Compounding the issue is that there are few universal standards that are specifically applicable to LGBT health education. Healthcare providers are often poorly prepared to care for this at-risk population, which in turn can result in distrust and avoidance in seeking prompt medical care.” In Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Jalali and Lauren M. Sauer, MS, had an article published that outlined strategies for improving care for LGBT patients in the ED. It discusses legal issues, healthcare considerations, and current educational practices pertaining to the LGBT community. The article also provides several tips for improving the care of LGBT patients (Table) and communicating more effectively with the LGBT community as a whole as well as transgender patients.   Legal Issues From a legal standpoint, the laws pertaining to LGBT healthcare rights are...
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