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Journey of a DPT Student

Keeping in Touch with Patients

Published October 7, 2013 5:53 PM by Lauren Rosso

Having the opportunity to spend three months at one clinical site has meant that I've seen a lot of my patients through their entire course of inpatient rehab care. And as I've taken on more of my own caseload, I've been their primary PT. By chance, there has been a lot of turnover during my time on the spinal cord injury unit, so I've seen even more patients than I expected. Of those patients, there have been many whose families I became close to and who I'd like to keep in touch with.

Recently, one patient was discharged who lives close to where I went to undergrad and to where my boyfriend's family is from. We spent a lot of time talking about the area, fun outdoor activities, and mutual likes/dislikes of the local restaurants. When he and his wife were getting ready to leave, they offered an open invitation to visit them any time I'm in their neck of the woods (which is quite often). They are two of the most wonderful people I've ever met, and I would love to see them again. But there's always that lingering question of what is and is not appropriate for patient-therapist interactions.

I personally don't see anything wrong with grabbing a cup of coffee with the two of them at some point.

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I struggle to find this balance with students as well. Every now and again I'll accept a facebook request after someone graduates...

Katy October 7, 2013 9:01 PM

I think dinner they are no longer technically patients that it's fine to have casual encounters provided you maintain professionalism. That's my opinion. I'm sure there are those who disagree.

Roxanne Undercuffler October 7, 2013 8:13 PM

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