Thursday December 7, 2023

Eastern Health LGBTQIA+ Liaisons providing inclusive health care

Starting in a new team can be a nerve wracking experience, but what happens when the team itself is also new? The LGBTQIA+ Liaison team is in it’s infancy at Eastern Health, but the team is made up of years of experience.

 “For us all, our experiences and passions have evolved and that’s what brought us to this particular space. Kate had an interest when she was working at the Royal Children’s Hospital as a nurse, I was unofficial rainbow champion in the Aged Care Assessment Services team, and Oliver came from a mental health background so that covers quite a bit of ground,” LGBTQIA+ Liaison Janet Brown said.

Eastern Health is only the third health network in Victoria to adopt a LGBTQIA+ Liaison Team, which will provide secondary consultations to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual communities within the Eastern Health catchment.

“Generally speaking LGBTQIA+ people are less likely to engage in mainstream medical services for a whole range of reasons and tend to have poor health outcomes. Over time we hope our presence and work, will help rainbow patients at an individual level feel safer about engaging with Eastern Health.

“We will be working alongside staff so that they feel that they can provide culturally competent and gender affirming care for people coming into any of our clinics or wards across the health network,” Ms Brown explained.

Before joining the LGBTQIA+ Liaison team, Ms Brown had worked across aged care teams at Eastern Health for 15 years.

Eastern Health LGBTQIA+ Liaisons Janet and Oliver Image: Eastern Health
Eastern Health LGBTQIA+ Liaisons Janet and Oliver Image: Eastern Health

This new opportunity was an exciting new door for her and team members to continue to create positive outcomes for vulnerable consumers.

 “I think we have a strong and personal connection to different aspects of the LGBTQIA+ community. Particularly from a social worker perspective, and also a nursing perspective, we really value that person-centered care, but we’re able to see it in the context of the social work perspective and realising that there’s lots of psychosocial impacts the rainbow community face.

“It’s a new team, with new roles; that’s challenging but it’s also exciting and full of hope. We understand that change can be difficult. There’s a lot of staff at Eastern Health who have open minds, open hearts and curiosity and are willing to learn about the rainbow community.”

Consumers and staff can access the support of the new LGBTQIA+ Liaisons from a range of different avenues.

“With consumer consent, staff and family can make direct referrals to our service, but it’s really clear that we need to have the consent of that person first. Referrals can come within and externally from the organisation.”

To get in touch with the LGBTQIA+ Liaison team consumers can text or phone 0403 108 237 or email [email protected]  between the hours of 9:00am to 3:00pm, Monday through Fridays, excluding public holidays.