HEALING THE SELF: The Moral Meaning of Relationships in Rehabilitation

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Abstract

Jennings B: Healing the self: the moral meaning of relationships in rehabilitation. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 1993;72:401–404.Ethical issues in rehabilitation include both clinical dilemmas and broader philosophic issues about the goals of rehabilitation and the nature of the provider-patient relationship. Two philosophic issues are explored in this paper. One involves the social conceptions of the human good that necessarily underlie rehabilitative care and provide its ethical context. The second is the way in which the clinical reality of rehabilitation challenges the ideals of autonomy and individualism central to mainstream bioethics. This paper argues that only with a moral vocabulary of relationships and transformative healing, rather than with a vocabulary of individualistic autonomy, can rehabilitation convincingly express its social goals and professional mission in an era of scarce resources.

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