Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender » Needs and Concerns of Gay and Lesbian Ostomates

10-04-2013, 07:40 PM   #1
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Needs and Concerns of Gay and Lesbian Ostomates

This is prepared by the Gay & Lesbian Ostomates organization for doctors and nurses interested in diversity education on LGBT ostomate issues.

"Gay and lesbian ostomates, like all people with ostomies, are confronted with a variety of concerns during their recovery. These concerns are universal throughout the ostomy community and can pertain to diet, odor, ability to work, the enjoyment of recreational activities, relationships and sex and the reactions of loved ones. Many gay men and lesbians are concerned with actual, perceived or anticipated prejudice they may experience. Therefore, many are reluctant to reveal their affectional or sexual orientations to health professionals and ostomy visitors. This limits the effectiveness of the caregiver, particularly where intimacy and sexuality issues are concerned.

Creating a Climate for Discussion

Perhaps the most important steps that can be taken on behalf of the gay and lesbian ostomate is to establish a comfortable, non-threatening environment in which he or she feels free to talk openly about sexuality and intimacy issues. Only then, can the recovery process truly begin.

Guidelines for Health Professionals and UOAA Volunteers:

The following guidelines are intended to open discussions on intimacy and sexuality. These discussions should help the gay or lesbian ostomate understand that it is “OK to come out,” if she or he wishes

1) Acknowledge to yourself your own feelings and attitudes about gay or lesbian people. This is an important first step and helps you to set aside bias in the interest of responding to the patient’s needs. Learning about homosexuality and discussing your feelings with co-workers is helpful.

2) Establish rapport and show interest in the patient as a person. When dealing with something new or unknown, we sometimes tend to focus on that aspect and lose sight of the whole picture.

3) Use language inclusive of same-sex as well as opposite-sex orientation. Some examples of questions you might ask are:

“Do you have a special friend who is important to you?” or
“Is there a significant other or spouse sharing your home?” or
“Is there a particular person who will be involved in your care?”

4) Initiate discussions on sexual concerns if the person doesn’t. For example, you might say: “Many of the people I visit are reluctant to bring up the subject of sex; I know that many are concerned about it and wonder how their partner will react to the ostomy. I want you to know that I am comfortable talking with you about this.”

Note: Make sure you have no problem before making this offer.

5) Ask patients if their sexual orientation is for women, men or both. This requires a good rapport with the patient.

6) Offer the patient a list of resources including those available for gay and lesbian ostomates. This is of particular benefit to the person who doesn’t feel free to come out to you."

Gay and Lesbian Ostomates (GLO)
an affiliate of the United Ostomy Associations of America:
The primary goals of the GLO Network are to:
* Address unique needs of gay and lesbian ostomates,
* Assist health care professionals and UOAA volunteers in serving gay and lesbian ostomates;
* Provide information about resources for gay and lesbian ostomates and their caregivers.

* A newsletter for the gay or lesbian ostomates;
* A network of gay and lesbian ostomates and supportive others who offer mutual aid and support through telephone or personal contact (U.S. and Canada);
* Informational programs and social events for gay and lesbian ostomates at UOAA regional and national conferences.

Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender » Needs and Concerns of Gay and Lesbian Ostomates
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