Nurses and other health care professionals should avoid using the terms "mom" and "dad" to refer to family relationships since the terms could be offensive to homosexual couples with children, a new directive published by Scotland's National Health Service recommends.
Issued in conjunction with the country's leading homosexual activist organization Stonewall Scotland, the publication is entitled Fair For All — The Wider Challenge: Good LGBT Practice in the NHS. Americans for Truth reported February 11 on the publication's release.
The booklet calls for a "zero-tolerance policy to discriminatory language" among Scotland's health care system. Included in discriminatory language is the use of terms that assume a traditional family structure of mother, father and children, according to the NHS directive.
"LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered] people can and do have children, sexual orientation or gender identity has nothing to do with good parenting or good child care," the booklet states.
"Individual circumstances lead to varied family structures and parenting arrangements. It is important to be aware of this. When talking to children, consider using "parents," "carers" or "guardians" rather than "mother" or "father."
Along the same lines, the directive points out, use of the terms "husband," "wife" and "marriage" is not acceptable since such terms exclude lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Instead, health care workers should use the terms "partners" and "next of kin." Since "next of kin" is often understood to mean nearest blood relative, however, the booklet recommends that it may be preferable to use "partner, close friend or close relative" to avoid confusion.
"This allows the patient to identify and choose who is important to them."
Other recommendations include ensuring the health care environment is visually reassuring to LGBT people, with posters and magazines on LGBT issues on display.
"Posters with positive images of same-sex couples, alongside similar material depicting opposite-sex couples, should be displayed in all areas e.g. waiting areas, hospital wards."
In order to better ensure the comfort and security of LGBT people in the health care environment, the NHS calls for sexual identity "monitoring forms" to be included in all registration procedures for both staff and patients. The booklet recommends five reply options to the question of sexual orientation, including "Lesbian," "Gay," "Bisexual," "Heterosexual," and "Other." Sections recording gender should be changed to have three reply options, "Male," "Female," or "Other," "where people can define their own gender."
Among guidelines for implementing pro-LGBT policies in the health care system, the directive requires that management or team leader job descriptions include a mandatory commitment to combating any "discriminatory" language or attitudes among staff.
The booklet was funded by taxpayers through the NHS Education for Scotland, as part of the Equality and Diversity program.