The person living with an acute, chronic, or advanced illness.
The term patient, as opposed to client, is used in recognition of the individual's potential vulnerability at any time during the illness.
The word patient derives from the Latin patiens; to suffer, to undergo, to bear.
The patient is a contributing member of the interdisciplinary team.
A person in contact with the health system seeking attention for a health condition.
World Health Organization. European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Glossary. 2009.
Any recipient of health care services performed by health care professionals. The patient is most often ill or injured and in need of treatment by a physician, nurse, psychologist, dentist, veterinarian, or other health care provider.
An outpatient (or out-patient) is a patient who is hospitalized for less than 24 hours. Treatment provided in this fashion is called ambulatory care.
An inpatient (or in-patient), on the other hand, is "admitted" to the hospital and stays overnight or for an indeterminate time, usually several days or weeks. In some extreme cases, patients can stay in hospitals for years, sometimes until death. Treatment provided in this fashion is called inpatient care.