Healthcare and End-of-Life Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults: A Scoping Review

Geriatrics (Basel). 2017 Mar 16;2(1):13. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics2010013.


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults face a number of challenges with respect to access to healthcare especially towards end-of-life. Through a systematic search and scoping review of the literature, we sought to answer two related research questions. In particular, the purpose of this scoping review was to determine the healthcare needs of LGBT older adults nearing end-of-life as well as the factors that contribute to a good death experience among older adults who identify as LGBT. A systematic search of electronic databases for articles published between 2005 and 2016 as well as screening for relevance resulted in 25 results. The data were charted and grouped according to the themes of: social support and chosen family, intimacy, health status, fear of discrimination and lack of trust, lack of knowledge and preparedness, and cultural competence in the healthcare system. The results suggest a role for health and social service workers in contributing to a positive care experience for LGBT older adults by becoming knowledgeable about the unique needs of this population and being unassuming and accepting of individuals' sexuality. Many of the articles reviewed collected data outside of Canada, limiting generalizability and highlighting a need for Canadian data on LGBT aging and end-of-life.

Keywords: LGBT; aging; bisexual; end-of-life; gay; healthcare; lesbian; older adults; transgender.

Publication types

  • Review