Although in the recent years, acceptance towards transgender people has fairly increased, transgender patients often experience a lack of regular health care. In a way, caring for transgender patients can be offered a logical understanding of how the patients’ self-identity can be important to anyone and how significant is initiating a bond of trust for overall improvement in the outcome. So, two of the many recent challenges in the healthcare industry can be: dealing with transgender patients and educating endocrinologists for transgender patients.
What is the transgender dilemma?
It has been frequently observed that many transgender patients avoid being treated due to multiple reasons, such as fear of being insulted, being offered low-quality treatment, and/or lack of insurance. The reasons could be multiple, but if a healthcare team is grounded with the two ethical tenets like transgenders are human beings too, with healthcare concerns; and it’s the caretaker’s duty to provide equal care to the transgender patients; then issues related to transgender patients will be solved.
The current write up intends to provide further information about ways for caring transgender patients, which can be referred as follows:
Expansion of understanding and knowledge about sexual orientations
While caring for transgender patients, it is very important to expand general awareness and understanding related to sexual orientation, inclination towards different sexes, and gender identity, to offer a complete spectrum of treatment and better treatment outcome. More information about the terms such as asexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. can be obtained through direct association with them.
Create a supportive environment for transgender patients
It is the bitter fact that many transgender patients have experienced discrimination and insult – either at personal or at the institutional level. And the healthcare industry is no exception to that. Thus, it is quite obvious for them to scan the environment in detail before revealing their personal information. While caring for transgender patients, you have to be careful about some of the important points these patients may consider during their visit, such as:
- Does your organization support nondiscretionary policy?
- Is it located in a secluded place?
- Does it have availability of unisex restrooms?
- Does it offer support for different sexually orientated people?
Thus, by creating a supportive environment, you can help them create a bond of trust and comfort with their healthcare provider.
Practicing inclusive and gender-neutral language
A small step in showing your acceptance and non-judgmental attitude towards the transgender can make them feel comfortable and encourage them to be more open about their health issues. As a part of caring for transgender patients, you can be more supportive through your language. Instead of asking about their marital status, you can ask their relationship status. Instead of directly asking their names, which they may not like as it reflects their gender identity, you can choose to ask their preferred name.
Thus, more you try to use inclusive language with your transgender patient; more will they be comfortable with you in discussing their health concerns and other private issues.
Investigate mental as well as physical health risks
You have to be aware of the tremendous mental as well as physical stress these individuals have to go through. Societal phobias, fear of being insulted, violence and hatred are a reality for them and hence, can be few of the many reasons for the chronic anxiety and depression. While caring for transgender patients, it is important for you to understand mental issues along with being aware of their physical health issues. Like lesbian women are at increased risk of certain cancers due to their physical stature and later pregnancies. Similarly, homosexuals are more susceptible towards sexually transmitted diseases and gay men are at a higher risk of anal cancer. Thus, consultation with these patients should be done by keeping in mind all these health concerns and helping them to be more open about their behavior, interests, and sexual inclination; which indeed require a strong connection of trust as well as comfort between both of you!
You have to always acknowledge the fact that the patient in front of you has taken a courageous step to come to you and discuss some of his intimate issues with you. You have to be as positive and affirmative with them during your consultation; which will certainly increase their chances of seeking medical help in case of emergencies in future. Thus, conveying respect should be the primary part of your efforts towards caring for transgender patients.