WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A grant bestowed by the North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys will help to fund outreach to the LGBT community with regard to healthcare rights, the Camel City Dispatch reported.

wakeforestuniversitylawschool_logoProfessor Kate Mewhinney, managing attorney of the Wake Forest Elder Law Clinic, explained, “In recent years, the LGBT community has gained greater rights and visibility. The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld same-sex marriage. Less attention has been paid to the many legal issues related to health care. This project will teach providers and the public about health care rights of LGBT people, particularly those who are aging.” She added, “The status of the LGBT community has been steadily improving, but they are still a marginalized and vulnerable population. When they encounter the health care world, their needs and rights are likely to be overlooked. It is sad that 40 percent of LGBT older people, ages 60-75, say their healthcare providers don’t know their sexual orientation, according to a 2014 Harris poll.” Mewhinney holds certification as an Elder Law Specialist by the N.C. State Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation.

The Dispatch shared that the grant will help provide the resources for the clinic to partner with other community groups. Those are: present educational events for healthcare providers on ethical and legal issues related to care of the LGBT patient; assist people with advance directives at venues such as Pride Winston-Salem and other community events that focus on the LGBT community; and prepare community education materials on the older LGBT person, with a focus on health-care issues.

Sponsorship by the North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys will enable the clinic to be able to hold this upcoming event to benefit the LGBT community. On Aug. 4, 2 p.m., at Senior Services, 2895 Shorefair Dr., a free cultural competency training program, “A Caring Response for LGBT Clients,” will take place. The documentary “Gen Silent” will be used as a tool in the training. Light refreshments will be served. The event is cosponsored with the PTRC Area Agency on Aging Long-Term Ombudsman Program and is suitable for staff and volunteers of long-term care facilities, community-based aging service providers and concerned family and loved ones.


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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.