Patients or Clients?

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Amnesty

168 Posts

When I was in nursing school in the 1980's, we had to call them "clients." I thought that everybody had changed it back to "patients?" I haven't heard anyone being called clients in a long time; we refer to them as patients at my current hospital.

In nursing school now, I'm being taught that we should call them clients because client implies that the person has a stake in his/her own healthcare decisions while patient implies dependence and passive behavior (not my logic =P that's from a textbook). But at my hospital, we call them patients, and when I asked the professor about it in class, she said that there's definitely a shift back to calling them patients and that it's really up to each facility to decide. What is acceptable in one area of the country or one area of nursing may not be in others. Down where I live, people in the hospital would probably find "client" offputting, as it's more business-like and cold, whereas "patient" has that caring implication to it.

RNsRWe, ASN, RN

4 Articles; 10,428 Posts

Yeesh.

All patients are clients, but not all clients are patients.

If the person walking in (or crawling, or riding in a bed) is in need of medical care or tests, s/he's a patient. If s/he's there to purchase OTC stuff the clinic has, this is a client (and, I'd warrant a guess, a clinic patient).

I have yet to refer to one of my patients as anything but....a patient.

MomaNurse

109 Posts

If they pay privately they are clients, if they are covered by insurance they are patient, if they live in a nursing facility/group home/assisted living they are residents. Just more useless pc junk I have to remember!

Specializes in PCCN. Has 20 years experience.

you mean not customers????:roflmao:

RNsRWe, ASN, RN

4 Articles; 10,428 Posts

Personally, I like Fair Attendees. Or maybe Participants?

ha!

Specializes in Emergency Department; Neonatal ICU. Has 5 years experience.

Patients. I may feel this way because I have always worked in hospitals as a nurse.

I am in graduate school now and grit my teeth every time I read the word "client" in my textbook.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Patients...if they were clients I could direct bill them for my services.

Tinkk

95 Posts

I think it's most appropriate to call them patients in any type of hospital/clinic setting. The only time "client" would be appropriate is in a home health setting since you are going to THEM to render medical services, not them coming to you for services. Just my opinion.

if they live in a nursing facility/group home/assisted living they are residents.

I do not think it's appropriate to refer to people in assisted living or independent living as "residents". Assisted living is more of a temporary stay and aren't completely dependent on nursing staff, therefore they should be called tenants. In a nursing home, it would obviously be resident as it's usually considered their last permanent home. Another IMHO.

RNFiona

211 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 13 years experience.

I say patients. Client sounds cold and detached.

RH_Fan

40 Posts

I was taught "client" in school, but since then, I have picked up that:

Hospitalized people=patients

elective outpatient type stuff = clients

people in long-term care = residents

I'm doing a CNA course right now and this is pretty much what my teacher told us. Only difference was home health = clients but still the same principle.

BrandonLPN, LPN

3,358 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

My mom works at a facility where they're called "consumers". Ugh.

Specializes in Emergency Department; Neonatal ICU. Has 5 years experience.
I say patients. Client sounds cold and detached.

Agree!