On Tuesday September 2019 the Cicely Saunders Institute hosted the first ACCESSCare conference which aimed to advance knowledge and improve care for LGBT+ people facing serious or advanced illness, and bereavement.
Over 85 healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers and community representatives came to the Institute for an engaging conference programme opened by Dr Michael Brady, the new National Advisor for LGBT Health in the NHS, who outlined the LGBT Action Plan and his forthcoming work to improve health and social care for LGBT+ people. Paul Roberts OBE, CEO of the LGBT Consortium which hosts the largest UK network of LGBT organisations and initiatives, provided an overview of the progress that has been made in LGBT health and where the sector is heading. He left us with the resounding message that robust evidence is vital for progress.
The ACCESSCare team presented work from their research projects which set out to improve the care for LGBT+ people experiencing a life-limiting or serious illness, advanced illness, or bereavement, and the support provided for their partners and those close to them. Dr Katherine Bristowe presented findings from ACCESSCare A which led to the development of 10 simple recommendations to improve care for LGBT people facing advanced illness. Dr Liadh Timmins presented preliminary results from ACCESSCare B, a population-based study exploring bereavement outcomes for LGB and heterosexual bereaved partners and Dr Debbie Braybrook shared initial findings from ACCESSCare C, qualitative research exploring the experience of communication between health and social care professionals and LGBT+ people with serious illness. A visiting speaker from Zimbabwe, Dr Jenny Hunt, also presented her insightful work on LGBTI people and sex workers’ experiences of discrimination and accessing healthcare in Zimbabwe.
There were also talks from our patient and public involvement (PPI) members who outlined their experiences of care and of being involved in research. Their honest and extremely personal accounts illustrated the value of involving PPI at all stages of research and the real life impact that this is having in practice.
During the lunchtime slot delegates were encouraged to look at and listen to the poster presentations from attendees who had submitted abstracts ahead of the conference. There were a variety of posters focused on practical work in LGBT health and community initiatives. Congratulations to Lauren James and Monica Reardon from Marie Curie whose “Building LGBTQ+ Inclusive Services within Palliative Care” poster was voted the winning piece of the day.
A huge thank you to everyone that attended the day, those that spoke and shared their research and individuals that joined our afternoon panel “Increasing access to appropriate LGBT+ healthcare” and shared their experience in practice. We look forward to sharing more of our research findings at future LGBT+ health events, continuing the conversations we’ve started and keeping the momentum going. For more information or any questions about the ACCESSCare studies please get in touch. You can visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.