This post from Kelly Young on Howard Luks’ blog asks when patients cross the line with respect to their own advocacy. It’s worth a peek.
The question of boundaries between doctor and patient is interesting. All of my patients are empowered in some way. The extent and level of that empowerment is personal. On our own there are few lines and little with respect to boundaries. We have effectively unlimited access to information and resources. And how far we go to look after ourselves and our kids has few limits.
But when we enter into a relationship with a provider, we’re no longer alone. It’s unreasonable for a provider to tell a patient exactly how it will be. It’s unreasonable for a patient to tell a provider exactly how it will be. Every great doctor-patient relationship is unique and lines that define that partnership need to be identified. In this context both providers and patients can cross a line that makes the relationship ineffective. And in this case the other party needs to decide whether the relationship works.
In our working relationships with patients we need to draw lines that define our role. Good fences, after all, make good neighbors.