Dialogue Volume 15, Issue 2 2019 - Page 25

POLICY MATTERS Boundary violations not limited to sexual interactions We want your feedback on new draft policy, advice document T he College’s draft policy on bound- ary violations is addressing, for the first time, non-sexual bound- ary violations, including personal financial transactions between physicians and their patients. The draft is an update of the cur- rent Maintaining Boundaries and Preventing Sexual Abuse policy. While the Boundary Violations draft policy, which is now out for consultation, focuses most of its content on sexual boundary violations, the policy working group undertaking the review process believed it was also important to ad- dress the potential harm that can be caused to patients as a result of dual relationships. As part of its review, the group noted an increase in the number of physicians mandated to attend the Boundaries Course at Western University as a result of a non-sexual boundary violation. Such violations can include lending patients money or borrowing money from patients, en- tering into a business relationship with a patient, hiring a patient or soliciting patients to make donations to charities or political parties. Dr. Barbara Lent, one of the policy working group’s members, said that it is important for physicians to be aware of the increased risk as- sociated with managing a dual relationship with a patient. Such relationships may present the potential for compromised professional judg- ment and/or unreasonable patient expectations. “Certainly, it is never appropriate for us to borrow money from a patient because that exploits the power imbalance inherent in the ISSUE 2, 2019 DIALOGUE 25