St. John’s recognized for LGBTQ equality

Rochester’s St. John’s has been recognized by SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older people, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for its Long-Term Care Equality Index.

The initiative is aimed at promoting equitable and inclusive care for elderly LGBTQ individuals in residential long-term care communities. St. John’s is the only skilled nursing home in the area to have been named to the list and one of just 18 in the country.

“We are thrilled to have been named to the LEI Index,” said St. John’s Vice President of Skilled Services Nate Sweeney. “One of the most important decisions older adults make is where to live and for the LGBTQ population, and added stress is finding a place that’s friendly and accepting. From Pride Week to featuring real LGBTQ residents in our marketing efforts to the welcoming culture we’ve created, we are proud of the thoughtful and deliberate efforts we have made to ensure our LGBTQ residents are treated inclusively and that we have culturally competent policies and practices in place.”

The national benchmarking tool evaluates long-term care communities based on the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ residents and patients. To be named to the LEI Index, St. John’s participated in a multi-step process which included completing a “Commitment to Caring” pledge, taking an LEI self-assessment and developing plans for long-term LGBTQ-inclusive goals after its customized needs-assessment report was received.

There are no current federal explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the agency noted. As such, half of all LGBTQ older adults in the U.S. live in a state where they can be legally denied access to housing and public accommodations.

A recent AARP study found that more than 60 percent of those surveyed were concerned about how they would be treated in a long-term care setting. St. John’s officials said that by participating in the LEI Index, the agency hopes that it will ensure current and prospective residents are aware that it is a full inclusive organization.

St. John’s has served the elderly for more than a century, having been founded in 1889. St. John’s has evolved into three innovative communities that deliver a full spectrum of services, from independent and enhanced assisted living to rehabilitation and skilled nursing care.

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