Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Caring for Gay Teenage Patients

"When it comes to healthcare, LGBT youth is particularly at risk. This period of social, emotional and physical development can be even more challenging for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) youth. These youth deal with all the same issues as their straight counterparts, but they have the added burden of being "different" in a way that many of their peers, family and friends may not understand or accept. The danger is that LGBT youth may not seek (or find) the support they need," reports Diana Friedman. "LGBT youth may feel uncomfortable disclosing their sexual orientation or sexual status to their healthcare provider, or may worry that anything said to a healthcare provider could get disclosed to their parents (either directly or through insurance claims). Nurses, whether in a primary care, hospital or community health clinic setting, can play a vital role in reaching out to the young LGBT population. By not assuming that all teenage patients are straight and have the same sexual health and reproductive concerns, nurses can play a big role in drawing LGBT youth into the healthcare system. Asking questions that are inclusive of different sexual orientations is a good place to start." READ MORE