The use of the term ‘client’ has become increasingly popular among non-medical staff in psychiatric practice. We sought to describe the preferences and attitudes of people attending a psychiatric clinic to the terms patient and client. A questionnaire and case note review was employed.
147 people completed the questionnaire, of these 77% preferred the term patient. There was no subgroup that preferred the term client. Attitudes towards the two terms were significantly different, with a greater antipathy demonstrated towards the term client.
The majority of people attending a psychiatric clinic prefer the use of the term patient; the term client is disliked.
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