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7 Ways To Improve Healthcare For The Transgender Patient

Many healthcare workers lack the training to deal with the unique issues the transgender community faces. While others disapprove of the lifestyle of the LGBT community for one reason or another. This can compromise the patients’ care.

That’s according to a study in LGBT Health that discusses the issues the transgender patient faces and measures that can be taken by providers to improve care.

The transgender population struggles with social stigmas and rejection, and this experience has compounded in some medical settings, according to the study. The lack of cultural competency and knowledgeable physicians interferes with the patients’ ability to receive compassionate, knowledgeable and nonjudgmental healthcare.  Awkward doctor-patient interactions occur because many physicians lack training in transgender healthcare issues, such as how to approach the gender identity of the patient.

This is a problem because more than 7,000 transgender patients postpone medical care due to the discrimination they face, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.  This group is at an increased risk for HIV infection and its related illnesses like depression, anxiety, suicide and substance abuse.

Healthcare facilities and workers at these organizations can take steps to improving transgender care by conducting an education campaign.

Here are some ideas on how to start:

  1. Schedule a series of lectures from healthcare workers with specific training in transgender healthcare.
  2. Hold consumer panels with transgender individuals.
  3. Conduct cultural-sensitivity trainings.
  4. Make resources about transgender healthcare available to workers whether online or via printed materials.
  5. Post LGBT-friendly signs and welcome information at the facility and on the organization’s websites.
  6. Signal in your publications that your physicians are comfortable with transgender patients and knowledgeable about their unique care.
  7. Review office documents and update them accordingly to respectfully address the complex issue of gender identity, such as providing gender-neutral or transgender-inclusive terminology.

The cultural sensitivity provided at your healthcare facility can minimize barriers so transgender patients receive the care that they need. The study believes it will help prevent further health complications, build rapport within the transgender community and diminish healthcare delays.


Dr. M. Mirza, LGBT Health Wellness – 2014

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