If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Oceanside, or if your family is just beginning to think about skilled nursing options, it is important to learn more about proposed legislation designed to protect LGBT long-term residents of such facilities. Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious problems in California and across the country, and such incidents can sometimes involve discrimination against the patient.
The proposed law, SB 219, has been named the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights.” The bill is aimed at extending certain protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to seniors in nursing homes and other facilities in California.
Learning More About SB 219 and LGBT Protections in California Nursing Homes
In California, there are currently protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation when it comes to employment and housing matters under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. However, the state legislature has not yet extended such protections to residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. That is where SB 219 comes in.
As the language of the bill explains, the proposed law would “make it unlawful . . . for any long-term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status.” What are the specified actions that the bill aims to prohibit? Such prohibited specified actions include the following:
- Refusing to use a resident’s preferred name;
- Refusing to use a resident’s preferred pronoun;
- Denying admission to a long-term care facility;
- Transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a long-term care facility to another facility; and
- Discharging or evicting a resident from a facility.
Would the bill, if passed, protect residents at all types of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) in California? The proposed legislation emphasizes that the following facilities would be bound by the discriminatory prohibitions in the bill if it passes:
- Skilled nursing facilities;
- Intermediate care facilities; and
- Residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs).
Motivations for Changing the Law
Why are lawmakers proposing SB219 and supporting it? As the proposed legislation explains, the California Legislature has observed that there are “lifelong experiences of marginalization” among members of the LGBT community, which puts LGBT “seniors at high risk for isolation, poverty, homelessness, and premature institutionalization.” In addition, many LGBT seniors are members of other underrepresented groups, as well, based on, for instance, race or ethnicity, and thus “are doubly marginalized.”
Moreover, studies have found that LGBT seniors regularly experience discrimination, including in long-term care facilities. Since seniors in these facilities potentially must rely upon staff members with biases who are the perpetrators of such discrimination, it is particularly important to find a way to address issues of harassment and discrimination in the nursing home setting.
Contact an Oceanside Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Nursing home abuse can take many different forms in California, and it can be exacerbated by instances of bias and discrimination. If the proposed legislation passes, it will help to protect LGBT seniors in Oceanside nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and RCFEs from such discrimination. In the meantime, if you have questions about filing a nursing home abuse claim, an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Oceanside can help with your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to get started.
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(image courtesy of Alice Donovan Rouse)