Equal Visitation

Produced by the HRC Foundation

LGBTQ+ older people have a greater likelihood to age alone without the family they were born into. For many in the LGBTQ+ community, resident's may have a "family of choice" in replacement of or in addition to their family of origin (e.g mother, father, sibling). One's family of choice may be made up of friends, former partners, other LGBTQ+ community members. Including inclusive language and definitions in your community's visitation policy shows your welcomeness and intention to protect LGBTQ+ residents and LGBTQ+ visitors.

The federal government requires that all long-term care communities receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding ensure that residents are granted certain rights and protections, including the right to spend time with visitors. This includes:

  • The right of residents to see visitors at any time - 24 hours per day - as long as the visit does not interfere with the provision of care and privacy rights of other residents.
  • The right to have visitors of the resident’s choice - including same-sex spouses, same-sex domestic partners, other family, or friends.
  • The right to see anyone who gives the resident help with health, social, legal, or other services at any time.
  • The right to spend private time with visitors.

These rights, combined with a community’s resident non-discrimination policy including sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and HIV status, provides strong protections for LGBTQ+ older adults living in skilled nursing communities.

However, these guidelines only protect skilled nursing community residents and those living in communities receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding. The LEI advocates for the same protections for all LGBTQ+ older adults living in long-term care, including assisted living and independent living. When long-term care communities explicitly guarantee equal visitation to LGBTQ+ residents, they offer vital assurance to residents and clear guidance to employees about expectations.

LEI Survey Questions

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.