Outword Magazine

Book review:
LGBTQ-Inclusive Hospice and Palliative Care, by Kimberly Acquaviva

A new handbook, “LGBTQ-Inclusive Hospice And Palliative Care: A Practical Guide To Transforming Professional Practice” has been released for hospice and palliative care professionals looking to enhance their care delivery or their programs with LGBTQ-inclusive care.

Written by Kimberly D. Acquaviva, a tenured faculty member at the George Washington University School of Nursing, the handbook is anchored in the evidence, extensively referenced, and written in clear, easy-to-understand language, that provides clear, actionable strategies for hospice and palliative physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, and chaplains.

Beyond sensitivity training to LGBTQ patients, “LGBTQ-Inclusive Hospice and Palliative Care” reiterates the broader tenet of never assuming anything about the patients, family members or even your own employees: Never assume the gender and how the person wishes to be addressed, never assume that their family either rejects or embraces them because of how they identify or live and never assume anything regarding spirituality.

In addition to fundamentals from how to conduct an inclusive “intake interview” to understanding complex family dynamics and spiritual care, the book offers clear-eyed guidance on topics that may not be as obvious, but equally critical, such as whether or not an LGBTQ caregiver should disclose his or her sexuality in an effort to bond with the patient, being mindful to not inadvertently “out” patients whose sex anatomy and gender identity do not match by using their preferred gender pronouns, and making sure patients’ wishes are legally protected with a healthcare power of attorney.

From the book’s chapter advising institutions and programs on how to reach LGBTQ individuals it is clear that for individuals and families searching for a hospice or palliative care organization that will be sensitive and respectful of their own, a loved one’s or a family member’s LGBTQ identity, the most important thing to look for is a highly visible nondiscrimination statement.

This statement should appear on the organization’s website homepage (not buried on some other page), included in any printed marketing materials, and easy to Google by entering the name of the organization and the word “discrimination.”

Further indications that an organization welcomes LGBTQ patients are ads in LGBTQ newspapers and websites, an information booth at a local Pride festival, and availability of an LGBTQ bereavement group. And, of course, though harder to discern, if the organization has any gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender employees in management or leadership positions.

For more information and please visit www.harringtonparkpress.com.

Reviewed by Outword Magazine