Casa Marija staff members with Manuel Fenech, the home’s manager (centre, holding a ‘Diversity is our strength’ plaque), and Gabi Calleja, head of the SOGIGESC Unit within the Human Rights and Integration Directorate, after one of the awareness sessions.
As part of a new initiative targeting the needs of older LGBTIQ persons using social care services, Caremalta, part of the Vassallo Group, is holding a series of awareness sessions for all members of its staff stemming from the different operational departments, such as care, nursing, kitchen and domestic chores and maintenance.
These sessions are being carried out in conjunction with the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Characteristics (SOGIGESC) Unit within the Human Rights and Integration Directorate (HRID), Ministry for Justice, Equality and Governance.
Caremalta is a leading provider of quality services in nursing and residential care, independent living for older persons and persons with disability, care and respite for persons suffering mental health and specialised dementia residential care services.
Senior nursing manager at Caremalta, Noel Borg, said the main aim of these sessions is to educate members of staff on gender issues and to embrace diversity in order to be able to better understand how to cater for the needs of older LGBTIQ individuals and how certain services can be adjusted to better represent all identities within a social care setting.
The sessions, which kickstarted in January, address topics such as LGBTIQ identities, the legal framework, barriers to good practice, as well as what one can do to make a difference at the workplace.
Gabi Calleja and Aaron Giardina, the unit’s head and manager respectively, started conducting sessions in each of Caremalta’s nine facilities – Roseville in Attard, Casa Arkati in Mosta, Casa Marija in Sliema, Casa San Paolo in Bugibba, Villa Messina in Rabat, as well as the Zejtun, Mellieha and Cospicua homes and Zammit Clapp.
The SOGIGESC Unit, set up in 2018, draws attention to patterns of issues and concerns raised by LGBTIQ persons and their respective organisations and makes best use of existing sources of funding for the enhancement of services, provision of training, awareness raising and community building.
The LGBTIQ awareness sessions with staff are ongoing until June. It is envisaged that they will also be conducted among relatives and the homes’ residents.