LGBTQ Inclusion in Children's Hospitals: Lessons Learned from the Healthcare Equality Index is a new guide from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to help Children's Hospitals foster LGBTQ inclusion for their patients, the families of patients and their employees.
Since its inception, the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) has become the nation’s leading tool to measure and benchmark progress in affirming healthcare for LGBTQ people in healthcare facilities. The HEI helps hospitals and other healthcare facilities to adopt LGBTQ inclusive policies and practices to enable them to better serve their LGBTQ patients, visitors, and employees. In 2019, 680 healthcare facilities participated in the HEI. Of these participants, 30 were Children’s Hospitals, and nearly 50 Children’s hospitals have participated in the HEI over the past three years. It is important that Children’s Hospitals be attuned to the needs of LGBTQ inclusion and consider participating in the HEI, as they all have LGBTQ patients, LGBTQ parents of patients, and LGBTQ employees. While the vast majority of the HEI recommended policies and practices can be equally applied to all healthcare facilities, regardless of patient population or services provided, children’s hospitals do have some unique experiences and issues surrounding LGBTQ inclusion. To help better understand what these unique issues were, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation convened a focus group of experts in LGBTQ health and Diversity and Inclusion leaders from Children’s Hospitals that regularly participate in the HEI. The Children’s hospitals were from throughout the United States, with particular emphasis placed on having geographic diversity. Attendees’ professional disciplines included social work, diversity and inclusion, divinity, ethics, nursing, medicine and law.
The attendees discussed their experiences with policies and practices aligned with the four criteria areas of the HEI:
- Non-discrimination & Staff Training
- Patient Services & Support
- Employee Benefits and Policies
- Patient and Community Engagement
Focus group members shared policy and best practice documents and discussed their experiences, successes, challenges, and unique issues pertaining to the HEI and children’s hospitals. This discussion and the substantive recommendations from the group are summarized in this guide.