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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Verinder Sharma
Affiliation:
Mood Disorders Program, Regional Mental Health Care London, 850 Highbury Avenue North, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 4H1
Shahé S. Kazarian
Affiliation:
St Joseph's Health Care, London
Diane Whitney
Affiliation:
St Joseph's Health Care, London
Rahul Manchanda
Affiliation:
St Joseph's Health Care, London
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Abstract

Type
The Columns
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
Copyright © 2001. The Royal College of Psychiatrists

Sir: We read with interest the article by Ritchie et al (Psychiatric Bulletin, December 2000, 24, 447-450) describing the preferences for the terms patient and client with respect to people attending a psychiatric clinic. Our prior study (Reference Sharma, Whitney and KazarianSharma et al, 2000), which involved a survey of 550 service providers and 427 service recipients at four sites in Canada - two provincial psychiatric hospitals, a private mental health centre and a psychiatric unit of a general hospital - showed similar results. The term patient was favoured by both service providers (68.4%) and service recipients (54.8%). The logistic regression results for service recipients' preference for the term patient showed that the variables of site, diagnosis and employment status contributed the most to prediction. More specifically, service recipients from the rural provincial psychiatric hospital had lower odds of preferring the term patient than did service recipients from the urban provincial psychiatric hospital. Service recipients with the diagnosis of mood disorders had higher odds of preferring the term patient than those with substance misuse disorders. Retired service recipients were more likely to prefer the term patient than those who were employed (Reference Sharma, Whitney and KazarianSharma et al, 2000).

The consensus among providers and recipients in current publications favours the use of the word patient. In our view the word patient carries a broader and perhaps deeper fiduciary commitment than does client.

References

Sharma, V., Whitney, D., Kazarian, S., et al (2000) Preferred terms for users of mental health services among service providers and recipients. Psychiatric Services, 51, 203209.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
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