Transgender, or trans, patients represent a diverse group of people who interact with the health care system and the ED in a variety of ways. Trans patients may be involved with the medical system intensely and for long periods as they align their bodies with their internal identities. In addition, in many cases transgender patients represent a high-risk population with specific care needs.
As transgender health is an emerging field, a large knowledge gap exists among providers when caring for these patients, and this leaves many health care teams inadequately prepared to establish effective communication with their LGBTQ patients, increasing the risk of less-than-optimal care. It’s essential for emergency physicians to be aware of the unique approach to care for trans patients.
We hope this guide will help doctors become more familiar with the specific social and care needs of their trans patients, which in turn will help those patients feel more comfortable and encourage them to seek care in the ED.
A survey of EM residency programs in the United States showed that only 26% of EM programs had presented a single lecture on LGBTQ health, and only 33% reported some incorporation of LGBTQ health in the curriculum, with an average of 45 minutes spent on LGBTQ content.