The LGBT community provides care for friends and loved ones at a higher rate than the general population. Due to a lack of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, the LGBT community is faced with barriers in the healthcare industry that can make the circumstances of care giving even more stressful. Several of these barriers are related to the rights of same-sex couples and same-sex parents to make medical decisions on behalf of their incapacitated partner or their minor children.
The Healthcare Equality Index focuses on two main policy areas related to medical decision-making:
- Advance Healthcare Directives - recognizing advance healthcare directives in allowing same-sex partners/spouses decision-making authority for their hospitalized partner
- Same-Sex Parents & Consent for Treatment of a Minor - granting same-sex parents the same rights as opposite-sex parents for medical decision-making for minor children