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More knowledge is needed on self-directed social care for disabled people from the LGBT community.

13 April 2016

New study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research seeks to understand more about the challenges faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) disabled community.

Next-to-nothing is known about the use of self-directed social care support by disabled men and women from the LGBT community (including people who use direct payments, personal budgets or who self-fund to pay for social care). A new project launching this month however hopes to address this knowledge gap by discovering more about the needs and experiences of LGBT-disabled people.

The research project is a collaboration between the Norah Fry Research Centre (University of Bristol), the LGBT Disabled People’s Organisation REGARD, the leading LGBT equality charity Stonewall, and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

Person-centred care and support

Modern social care practices recognise that everyone who needs care and support is likely to want it to be personalised in a way that maximises their wellbeing. Whilst this can often present challenges, it can prove even more difficult if staff and services are not open to discussing or responding to the needs of people who are disabled and from the LGBT community. The issue will be discussed today (13 April) at the 'Equality for LGBT disabled people - Out for Change' conference, where one of the topics is ‘best practice in social care’.

Social care staff and providers may find it difficult to meet the needs that relate to sexual orientation and gender identity. Apart from initial decisions to ‘come out’, users may well need support to access LGBT venues, take part in social activities with other LGBT people, enjoy other ‘ordinary’ daily aspects of being LGBT and require physical support with sex. LGBT people with learning disabilities may also need particular support to assert or explain their needs as they relate to sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT-specific support needs of LGBT-disabled people are however rarely addressed in the assessment, organisation, delivery or review of self-directed social care support.

Resources from the project

This project will contribute to research about LGBT, disability and adult social care. It will produce a range of online resources to support LGBT-disabled people, their supporters and social care providers.  LGBT disabled adults who use self-directed social care in England will be surveyed and interviewed and the study will also talk to groups of personal assistants and support workers who currently support LGBT-disabled people.


If you are an LGBT Disabled person living in England and organise some or all of your own social care support and would be interested in taking part in the research, please contact David Abbott: 01173310972



Further information

Further information about the NIHR School for Social Care Research

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