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Deb Rawlings
International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 18, Iss. 1, 27 Jan 2012, pp 29 - 34

Negative social attitudes, discrimination, and homophobia affect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) individuals during their lifetimes. These experiences can affect how these individuals access health services and interact with health professionals, resulting in adverse outcomes compared with their heterosexual counterparts. End-of-life experiences can also be shaped by these factors. There are implications for health professionals in terms of equity of access to targeted health care, preventive screening, and visibility in policy, as well as in principles of inclusiveness, dignity and respect, and competence in care. This article takes a brief look at some of the issues specific to the end-of-life care of GLBT individuals, using a case study as an illustrative example. Holistic care at the end of life is a familiar concept to palliative care nurses, but it is important to place greater emphasis on considering competence in aspects of care relating to sexuality.

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