Patients or Clients?


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67 Posts

Specializes in Oncology, Clinical research.

Our facility (which also does home health) says:

Home health = clients

Rehab = patients

LTC = Residents


526 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

They are CUSTOMERS and we are the waitstaff!!! LOL


2,452 Posts

Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.
My mom works at a facility where they're called "consumers". Ugh.


An electric company rep called this morning and asked me to take a survey since I was "such a faithful


Your mom's "consumers" must be good electric company consumers. Hmm...or am I living where she works? Oh heck! Now I'm all confused.:nailbiting:

When I worked psych, inpatient, you were a patient. Outpatient, clinic, you were a client.

BrandonLPN, LPN

3,358 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

My LTC facility calls the residents "members", the rationale being that they're considered participants in their overall care plan, or something along those lines.

I still think it's kind of silly, but it's grown on me. Not as detached as "clients" or as demeaning as "consumers".

I just graduated in May and our school used "clients" but I call them patients….that's what they are!


5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.
I've been using "client" since I started in nursing in the early '80s. I'm in psych, which, in large part, has moved on from "client" to "consumer" (I flatly refuse to use "consumer" -- sounds like we're at Wal-Mart). I work in C&L, in the general hospital setting, and most everyone else uses "patient," but I still use "client."

Yeah, the guy the cops drag in in handcuffs because he was running naked through traffic, screaming that the CIA and microwaves were out to get him--he's a consumer.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,979 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

That's something I've wondered about for a while....when did mental health patients become "consumers"? I hate that term---makes it sound like I'm shopping at Sears instead of sitting on my psychiatrist's sofa. I also refer to myself as a "patient of Dr. Awesomesauce" whenever I call there.

Un-PC? I guess so, but despite attending nursing school in the 1990s when it was in vogue to call them 'clients', I've always called them "patients" unless it was in reference to people in a long-term care setting, who are "residents". Dunno why it has to be so darned difficult. :sarcastic:


150 Posts

Has 4 years experience.

They are patients. A client is someone who I am working to please. A patient is someone I am working to help. BIG TIME DIFFERENCE. I'm not a servant. I'm a nurse. PATIENT!

CapeCodMermaid, RN

6,089 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience.

Back in the 90's when I worked for Kindred, they tried to roll out new jargon for us to use. Admissions were supposed to be called check ins. Discharges were check outs. Briefs were to be called Protective Undergarments (PU!). The big change lasted less than a week. I call my long term people's their home. I call my short term/rehab people patients.

subee, MSN, CRNA

4,423 Posts

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 51 years experience.

Hookers = clients


5 Posts

MunoRN, that is spot on! I used to work in England and we always called our patients "patients". I hope I don't ever have to say " clients".

Specializes in Med Surg. Has 8 years experience.

When I worked in the nursing home, I had "residents." When I worked in home health, I had "clients." I now work in a hospital, where I have "patients."

Good enough for me. Now if you want to call my patients, "clients" or "oranges" or "quarks" that is up to you.

Stupid, but up to you.