Adding silver to the rainbow: the development of the nurses' health education about LGBT elders (HEALE) cultural competency curriculum
In 2009, the Howard Brown Health Center received funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Health Resources and Services Administration to develop and disseminate a peer-reviewed, six-module curriculum entitled, Health Education about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Elders (HEALE).
The HEALE curriculum targets nurses and health-care staff and is focused on the treatment of LGBT elders, a population that is largely misunderstood and discriminated against in health-care settings. The HEALE curriculum was presented in hospital academic centres, community-based clinics and nursing homes over a three-year period, and training staff provided education to over 500 nurses and health-care providers.
A pre-test and post-test was administered to participants, and all data were collected and archived to measure knowledge gained. Participants also completed an evaluation at the conclusion of the training to report change in personal attitude and individual response to the curriculum.
Results and conclusions
From March 2011 to June 2012, 848 individuals attended HEALE curriculum sessions at 23 locations in Chicago and surrounding areas. Participants were 40% white, 25% black, 9% Hispanic/Latino and 25% Asian race/ethnicity. The majority of participants were female and approximately 25% were under the age of 30 years. There were statistically significant gains in knowledge in each of the six modules both in nursing home/home health-care settings and in hospital/educational settings, although participants in nursing home/home health care settings had lower pre-test scores and smaller knowledge gains in each of the six modules than those in hospital/educational settings. Mean increases ranged from 6.4 points (an 8.7% increase) in module 1–14.6 points (a 26.2% increase) in Module 6 (P < 0.01).
Implications for nursing management
The HEALE curriculum sets a standard for best practices in nursing management and for LGBT cultural competency in geriatric education. As such, implementation of this cultural competency training will go a long way to establish fundamental concepts regarding LGBT elder care and provide long-term strategies for providing culturally sensitive patient care.