A growing agenda

We put the SAND presentation centre stage at last week’s SAND Action Group meeting. It felt important for the whole group to see it and have an opportunity to comment and input – plus one of them was due to deliver it yesterday to social work students and nurses so it was good to revisit it. It got a very good reception – members of the Action Group felt it very much reflected the conversations we have been having and has a powerful message – this is good as we will be using at the centrepiece of our launch on July 5th. We are aware that the contents of the presentation will develop as we deliver it more and get reactions from different audiences.

During the meeting, the presentation prompted lots of discussion and we started to explore just how wide an issue all of this is. We have tended to focus on the experiences of older LGBT people as they access health and social care – now we are talking about associated issues in the health and social care sector – for example people are talking about:

  • how they feel comfortable being ‘out’ but other family members are not comfortable at all – this has implications for how much older parents talk about their (grown up) LGBT children; how ‘out’ their children can be when visiting them in care settings where other residents are around, whether they visit with partners and their own families, what they say and how they say it
  • the sensitivity and understanding of care home staff to these situations and how they deal with issues arising for residents following visits from openly LGBT children
  • the role of friends – we heard stories of LGBT people being in the closet in residential care settings and asking friends to be careful not to be obviously out – and, in turn – not to out them. At its extreme just such a request can result in friends ceasing to visit.

The discussions grow and grow as the complexities of the SAND world are slowly coming to light. All of this is relevant and needs managing so that it can be properly researched and addressed if we stand any chance of change.

Talking of research, we heard feedback from the pilot survey we have recently undertaken supported by Healthwatch Shropshire Research Grant funding and are consequently thinking about taking a different approach to this work to favour qualitative discussion – we’re still working on it.

We are planning a launch event for SAND – specifically inviting our LGBT community and straight allies – details are on the website, facebook & twitter and bookings can be made here: SAND Launch

We are focusing on getting the SAND name out there at the moment, telling people about what we are doing and building a groundswell. We have got a bit of money for promotional materials which will help so we will have things to give to people who come to presentations and banners to give SAND some presence.

The issues that SAND is working on seem to resonate with so many people.

This Blog records what is happening at which point of SAND’s development.

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