AUSTIN, Texas -- Central Texas doctors received education on the best practices for treating older members of the LGBTQ community Tuesday.

  • Workshop by MIR Care Consultants
  • Encourage sharing pronouns
  • Can display rainbow flags in offices

The workshop, put on by MIR Care Consultants, is meant to address the health-care gap for LGBTQ elders. Executive Director Lina Supnet-Zapata said teaching health-care providers how to create a safe space for the older generation to be who they are ensures equal care for that community.

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"This is a population that is in our long-term care communities," Supnet-Zapata said. "They visit medical clinics and they deserve the same people care as everyone else."

Speakers discussed ways to make these patients feel included from the beginning, including doctors introducing themselves by sharing their pronouns to all patients and making their offices more LGBTQ friendly with subtle rainbow flag accessories. EDUCARE Amabassador Vic Holmes said making these connections will make it more likely for patients to disclose necessary information to doctors for treatment.

"It's very difficult to create a full plan of treatment for somebody that covers every aspect of the social, the spiritual, and the physical without knowing everything we can about them," Holmes said.

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The event comes just one day after Austin's first LGBTQ senior center opened its doors. The mission there is similar and more long-term--to create a safe space for older LGBTQ people to receive long-term care.