Patient or Client?
If you ever find yourself in a hospital, you’re a ‘patient’. Usually something is medically wrong or broken requiring a medical or surgical intervention. You may have a choice of which hospital to attend but let’s assume that the act of going to hospital has minimal choice associated with it.
Seeing a Physiotherapist in a private practice setting is a choice. It’s certainly not life-threatening if you don’t and there are plenty of us to choose from. For many presentations you could arguably chose a different Allied Health Provider altogether – Osteopath, Chiropractor, other.
If you’re seeing a Physiotherapist following on from being a “Patient” in a hospital setting and it’s a continuation of that intervention e.g. rehabilitation from a major surgical procedure, then we will consider you to be a patient until you’re discharged from care.
If you haven’t been a patient in a hospital or medical setting, you’re a “client”.
We want to make a clear distinction between the two and acknowledge that you’ve actively chosen to entrust us with your physical health. We also accept that if we fail to provide you with the service you want, need, and expect, then you’ll probably take your business elsewhere.
If you wake up with horrendous neck pain, you don’t need medical treatment and you’re not a patient.
Referring to you as a “patient” in our care makes us sound good but it’s dis-empowering – patient-centered care means you’re in charge, not us. I may have a clinical doctorate but I’m not a ‘real’ Dr and I’m really not that important. My wife is a real doctor and she will tell you that! As would plastic surgeon Dr Layt who once scribbled out my title when I told him what I did.
Opinions are mine. Views belong to you.