New research has highlighted the importance of integrating palliative care to improve healthcare outcomes for LGBTQ+ patients with serious and chronic illnesses. These communities have long faced discrimination and bias, which negatively impact their access to high-quality care. The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology journal published a study revealing that approximately 35% of LGBTQ+ seriously ill patients felt judged by healthcare providers. Moreover, 5% of LGBTQ+ patients with liver disease reported disrespectful and inadequate care, while 20% experienced rude treatment from healthcare professionals. This mistreatment extended to their partners, with 12% reporting mistreatment and 10% stating their input on their partner’s health decisions was ignored. Additionally, LGBTQ+ individuals with inflammatory bowel disease faced challenges related to clinicians’ understanding and awareness of their sexual or gender identities and preferences. Researchers emphasized the need for integrated palliative care and effective communication to ensure culturally competent and inclusive healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients.
The study’s findings call attention to the importance of creating a healthcare environment that is accepting and welcoming to all patients, regardless of their sexual or gender identities. Palliative care consultations and evidence-based communication with LGBTQ+ liver transplant patients were identified as potential strategies to enhance the quality of care provided. Healthcare providers must be aware that identity can impact healthcare decisions and strive to deliver culturally competent care to LGBTQ+ individuals with serious illnesses. By addressing discrimination and bias, healthcare systems can ensure that LGBTQ+ patients receive the care they deserve and improve their overall healthcare outcomes.