On Wednesday and Thursday this week I will be taking part in a groundbreaking symposium sponsored by The Erickson School at UMBC focused on the concept of Surplus Safety I’ve been developing with Dean Judah Ronch.
What, you may ask, is Surplus Safety? Surplus Safety refers to the practice in health care of reducing risk at all costs. Surplus Safety is the byproduct of regulations and institutional practices that eliminate all risks, INCLUDING the risk of positive and meaningful experiences that make life worth living. It’s tied to every aspect of life in institutional settings, including walking, eating, sleeping, showering and even going to the bathroom.
The goals of this two-day symposium are huge. GIGANTIC. We have brought together a group of leading advocates and policy makers in long term care and we’re asking them to come to a consensus on how to address the four following challenges:
- Create strategies to promote a full evaluation of risk vs. potential outcomes in long term care.
- Reframe current concept of safety to better balance both upside and downside risk potential.
- Identify codes and standards which should be addressed in order to better balance upside and downside risk.
- Identify stakeholder groups to enlist in seeking necessary code and standard changes.
For those who remember back in the day when The Erickson School was created… this is what it was created for. Building leaders for the aging revolution who can bring about changes to improve the lives of elders.
I’ll report on our achievements after the conference. Here’s a clip of us talking Surplus Safety at The Eden Alternative International conference last June: