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Balancing the benefits of patient-clinician relationships with professional boundaries in Home-based Primary Care.

Hulen E, Lafferty M, Laliberte A, Saha S, Edwards ST. Balancing the benefits of patient-clinician relationships with professional boundaries in Home-based Primary Care. Home health care services quarterly. 2022 Mar 29; 41(4):330-340.

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In the home care setting, boundaries may be difficult to identify when behavioral changes are made to accommodate the nature of care being delivered. In this secondary qualitative study, we examined how Home-based Primary Care (HBPC) clinicians understand role and relationship boundaries with patients and how these dynamics support patient care. The data set consisted of 14 semi-structured interviews with HBPC clinicians representing multiple disciplines and field observations of 6 HBPC team meetings. Using a directed approach to content analysis, we identified and described how HBPC clinicians worked to build relationships with patients, experienced challenges with emotional attachment, and negotiated boundaries in the patient-clinician relationship. Our findings illustrate how the home care setting is a site for which strong, therapeutic patient-clinician relationships can be developed while also highlighting the work that clinicians must do to balance addressing patient needs stemming from social isolation and adherence to their own professional boundaries.

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