Human Exceptionalism

Protecting the Vulnerable in Hospitals by “Valorizing” Their Moral Worth

I am currently in Worcester, MA for a series of speeches in MA and in CT. My primary sponsor is the Social Role Valorization Implementation Project (SRVIP). From an article about SRV:

The basic premise of SRV is that people are much more likely to experience the “good things in life” if they hold valued social roles than if they do not. Therefore, the major goal of SRV is to create or support socially valued roles for people in their society, because if a person holds valued social roles, that person is likely to receive from society those good things in life that are available to that society and can be conveyed by it, or at least the opportunities for obtaining these.

The SRVIP, among other matters, trains people to serve as advocates for people with disabilities when they are hospitalized. In essence, they literally stay with “devalued” patients–primarily people with cognitive or developmental deficits–to ensure that they are treated properly–and not, for example, given medically unwarranted morphine drips. The stories I have been hearing from these valiant advocates would curl your hair, with some successes in saving lives, and some outrageous losses. I won’t repeat them here since they are hearsay, but I am sure you can imagine.

I have heard many such stories as I travel and in private communications. I still believe (hope) they are the exception, and without question must be prevented and punished. In any event, this idea of a creating a cadre of trained advocates and protectors for the devalued in the health care system is a very good one. I would love to see the concept spread throughout the country.


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