ACON is a health promotion organisation with a central focus on HIV/AIDS. It provides HIV prevention, health promotion, advocacy and care and support services.
The Aged Care Training Project is designed to provide better education, care and support for LGBTI people in aged care, and to help aged care workers understand any difference between their personal values or beliefs.
The federal government has provided the funding to the National LGBTI Health Alliance, which will allow for state based organisations to conduct training for aged care workers until June 2016.
ACON has so far trained more than 120 aged care workers, and have another 30 sessions booked before December for training in New South Wales, and are receiving calls daily for more reservations.
The ageing of the ‘baby boomer’ generation and the expectation that demand for services will dramatically increase in the future, has inspired a greater focus on ageing and aged care in Australia.
The growing numbers of LGBTI people accessing aged care services represents an emerging and potentially challenging area for aged care service providers.
The combination of the Strategy with the Ageing and Aged Care Training Project is designed to enable better education, care and support for LGBTI people in aged care. They are intended to help staff to understand any difference between their personal values or beliefs and appropriate and inclusive workplace behaviour and practice.
Tasmania’s Glenview aged care services chief executive, Lucy O'Flaherty, says the training helps staff be mindful, aware, and responsive to all clients.
"If someone does identify as LGBTI, [it's] really giving staff the tools to enable them to be open, for clients and residents to talk to openly so that people don't have to be in the closet if they choose not to," Ms O’Flaherty says.
Ms O'Flaherty said conversations with other residents are also important.
"Demographics are changing and we have far more people from an LGBTI community, as we have far more refugees and migrants, as we have a rapidly ageing population," she says.
"I had a conversation with some residents only a few days ago, and I thought there might have been some concern, whereas the response I got was 'everybody's got a right to care, regardless'.
"All the residents we have spoken to have been really open, welcoming and really quite excited to get new residents that have differences."
Some facilities like Glenview have put all staff through the program, and it is hoped every aged care service in Tasmania will have completed the training within the next 18 months.