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Dental Hygiene Newswire

News and research for Ontario dental hygienists

Cultural competence in the care of LGBTQ patients

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community consists of a cross cultural broad range of community members and includes all races, ethnic and religious backgrounds, and a range of socioeconomic status. The healthcare needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer community should be considered to provide the best care and avoid inequalities of care. This activity reviews the evaluation and treatment of members of the LGBTQ community and highlights the role of the interprofessional team in caring for patients that are members of this community in a professional, ethical, and caring manner.


  • Describe acceptable terms for gender and sexual identity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer community.
  • Summarize challenges in the care of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer community.
  •  Outline communication strategies to provide culturally correct evaluation and treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer community.
  • Explain the cultural competence in the care for LGBTQ community patients.

Access the activity here.

Clinical significance
All health-care providers interact with members of the LGBTQ community. Interaction in a positive manner will improve patient outcomes. Providers need to understand the LGBTQ population history, unique health concerns, and risks, and develop communications skills that avoid discrimination and provide compassionate care.

Health professionals should be aware the LGBTQ population experiences higher rates of challenges due to discrimination, social pressures, sexual behaviours, and less healthcare access. The LGBTQ populations have higher rates of tobacco use, sexually transmitted diseases, and depression. To provide the best care and achieve better outcomes, all health-care providers need to learn and understand the special needs of LGBTQ patients.

Enhancing health-care team outcomes
Better patient outcomes will be achieved in the care of the LGBTQ community if providers learn the terms, healthcare risks, and maintain a good fund of knowledge in the care of these patients. Remember to use gender-neutral language. Consider the possibility of anxiety and depression. Evaluate for sexually transmitted infections.

It is most important to be respectful of the LGBTQ patient and remember the challenges they face from society are substantial.

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