Nursing homes are facing a new population which need to be cared for – the transgendered.
The transgendered comprise a growing population, as does the LGBT population in general, of those over age 65. According to one estimate, currently about 1.5 million people over age 65 in the US identify as a part of this group. As the huge baby boomer population surpasses age 65, the number of seniors in the LGBT will increase dramatically.
In response to this trend, nursing homes must develop plans about how to care for the transgendered, especially in circumstances in which rooms may be shared. Unfortunately, in addition to practical considerations, in some nursing facilities staff prejudices may be another hurdle that must be overcome.
A recent article highlights an example of one transgendered woman’s struggle in a nursing facility, and the abuse that she believes she suffered as a result of being transgendered.
Lequan Edwards was left partially paralyzed following two strokes. While in nursing home care, Edwards alleged that she was called “fag,” she was told to “shut up” while being grabbed by the throat, and she was placed in a scalding hot shower which caused her legs to be burned severely. According to the AOL article, the nursing home has not publicly commented on the allegations.
Edwards is now recovering at a local hospital. According to a family member, the hospital cannot put her in a room with another female because Edwards was born a male.
Edwards’ family is not sure where she can go after she is released from the hospital, as they have been told by 90 care centers that Edwards would not be accepted.
This is wrong.
Currently, the transgendered are not protected against nursing home discrimination. As a result, nursing homes are able to discriminate (and not admit) the transgendered.
While There May Not Yet be Laws to Protect the Transgendered Population from Nursing Home Discrimination, Existing Laws Require Resident Dignity and Protection from Abuse and Neglect
The alleged treatment of Edwards, if true, would be actionable. Physical and psychological abuse of the elderly are wrong. Some types of abuse may also be criminal.
Our family members who must live in nursing homes and residential care facilities deserve dignity. They do not deserve to be ridiculed, demeaned, and abused based upon their gender identity or for any other reason.
If a loved one is being discriminated against, abused, or neglected, please call our firm and learn how we may be able to help.