LGBTQ+ People

The content and key messages on this page have been developed in collaboration with clinicians, campaigners, people accessing palliative care, and their caregivers.

Particular thanks to Thanks to Billy Rosa and Carer Help for providing this content which you can use in your social media posts and as part of your World Hospice and Palliative Care Day activities.

WHPCA would love to hear about any projects that are working to create equity in access to palliative care for LGBTQ+ people. Please share them with us by contacting our Communications Manager.


LGBTQ+ People

●        All members of the interdisciplinary palliative care team should be trained in both anti-discriminatory practices and cultural humility to ensure care delivery is human-centered.

●        Evidence-based interventions at the individual clinician and system-level are needed to create environments, employ language, and demonstrate care that is respectful and inclusive.

●        Acknowledge and include LGBTQ+-identified patients’ families of choice as part of decision-making processes and care planning as deemed appropriate by the patient. Families of choice may be distinct from families of origin and may be characterized by a kinship or friendship ethic requiring distinct considerations in the palliative care milieu.

●        During assessment and rapport building, respond empathically and nonjudgmentally, asking only those questions that are necessary to delivering quality palliative care and avoiding questions that are invasive or appease personal curiosity about a person’s body, experiences, or life.

●        Reflect on personal or system-level biases to cultivate more equitable practices. Report violence or discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons and their families of choice. Advocate for policies that ensure safety and enhance well-being for seriously ill LGBTQ+ communities.

Adapted from:

Rosa, W.E., Shook, A., & Acquaviva, K.D. (2020). LGBTQ+ inclusive palliative care in the context of COVID-19: Pragmatic recommendations for clinicians. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 60(2), e44-e47. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2020.04.155

Harding, R., Ciruzzi, M.S., Downing, J., Hunt, J., Morris, C., & Rosa, W. (2020). Palliative care for LGBT+ people in the time of COVID-19. In De Lima, L., Pettus, K., Downing, J., Connor, S., & Marston, J. (Eds.), Palliative care and COVID-19 series – Briefing notes compilation (pp. 71-73). Houston, TX: IAHPC Press. Retrieved from

Bristowe, K., Hodson, M., Wee, B., Almack, K., Johnson, K., Daveson, B. A., Koffman, J., McEnhill, L., & Harding, R. (2018). Recommendations to reduce inequalities for LGBT people facing advanced illness: ACCESSCare national qualitative interview study. Palliative Medicine, 32(1), 23–35. doi: 10.1177/0269216317705102


Watch Kim & Kathy's story here:




Key messages for LGBTQ+ carers:

·         Everyone has the right to quality palliative care that caters for individual need and choice, including LGBTQ+ people.

·         Carers are an important part of our healthcare system and have the right to feel supported and respected.

·         It is important that you talk about and document end-of-life preferences.

·         Regardless of what you want to communicate, you should feel safe to be able to make decisions for yourself and be supported by the health care practitioners you engage with.

·         If a health professional has treated you or the person you are caring for in a discriminatory or disrespectful way, or is not meeting your needs, you have the right to:

1.       Speak up and ask for what you need

2.       Advocate for what the person you are caring for needs

3.       Ask to speak to a different health professional

4.       Give feedback on unacceptable behaviour

5.       Be clear that you are the primary carer and have the person’s permission to be involved in health-related decisions.

6.   It is a personal choice to disclose any details of your relationship, sexual orientation, or identity to health professionals.


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