Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Provider Talking to Client Through Me
In the last couple of weeks I've gone with two different clients on two appointments to meet their providers; One with a physician and another with a benefits worker. In each I had the surreal experience of witnessing the provider behave as if my client wasn't quite visible -- in the first the physician spoke to me, nearly ignoring my client which angered me, and in the second the benefits worker made eye contact only with me during the entire appointment. ARGH! In each appointment my client tended to ask the provider questions through me with the provider more likely to do the same. Interestingly, in neither instance did my client seemed offended or annoyed that the provider wasn't talking to her directly.
Sure, I understand I'm the advocate so some participation on my part is expected during these types of appointments. But even though I could understand where the provider's coming from in talking to me I became aware of how insulting it may feel for the client -- the person actually receiving the service -- to not be greeted or spoken to directly. And yes, I am putting the burden on the providers to be those who try harder because that's part of our job.