Trenton – In an effort to protect the rights of LGBTQI seniors in long-term care facilities, the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton, Vin Gopal and Richard Codey that would prohibit the discrimination of these residents in their facilities. The bill would also educate staff at these facilities on the rights of their residents.
“A recent report on older LGBTQI adults and long-term care facilities found that often times, these adults are victims of harassment and neglect by the staff just because of who they are, how they identify, and whether or not they live with HIV,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “This callous treatment is despicable and unacceptable. These facilities, their staff, and their residents must understand the rights which protect all members of our society, including the LGBTQI community, without exception.”
“Especially as someone who represents a large LGBTQI community, I was horrified to learn of the neglect and discrimination some seniors receive in long-term care facilities,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “There is no excuse for this. LGBTQI residents deserve to know their rights so they can hold staff accountable and be afforded the same level of care and treatment as other residents.”
“While the LGBTQI community has enjoyed much more support in recent years, they still face discrimination in long-term care facilities,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “LGBTQI seniors, especially those living with HIV, are frequently discriminated against by administrators and staff. This legislation will protect our LGBTQI seniors and help ensure they receive the high-quality care they deserve.”
Under the bill, S-2545, administrators and staff would receive training, on a biennial basis on how best to care for LGBTQI seniors living with HIV and prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and intersex status. In addition, long-term care facilities would be required to prominently post a notice saying they do not discriminate and do not permit or tolerate any kind of bullying or neglect based on sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 33-0.