Bringing Family Practice Training Up to Date

I’m very lucky to be part of several groups of committed and capable family physicians doing care of the frail elderly. One of these is our (University of British Columbia) Family Practice community geriatrics program, led by my colleague and good friend Margaret McGregor.

About a year ago Margaret decided to produce an opinion article in the Canadian Family Physician journal, arguing that training in care of the frail elderly should be as mandatory for family practice residents as is pediatrics, surgery, and psychiatry. This given the fact that almost every one of these graduating family physicians will be faced with issues like dementia and falls, and the challenge of reinterpreting standard medical guidelines so that they make sense in the lives of unique frail elderly people.

I completely agree with all this, and it must be one of the percs of having been around long enough to be practically a frail elder myself that Margaret kindly tacked my name onto authorship of this wonderful article.  The fact is she wrote the whole thing herself and so deserves pretty well 100% of the credit.

Take a look at what she has to say at


About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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1 Response to Bringing Family Practice Training Up to Date

  1. Mary Whale says:

    I can’t express how relieved and excited I am to ‘hear’ a family physician and respected author/practitioner articulate my thoughts and experience so profoundly. I am a registered nurse who has been working with ‘seniors’ in the community for many years. It often feels as though one is swimming upstream or even drowning in a system that does not meet the unique challenges of aging. I am wondering if you would be available to speak with our primary care network; the only network in the Edmonton area that recognizes the atypical work with older adults by maintaining a group of nurses and a social workers solely to address aging challenges within the multidisciplinary team at the clinic level. Even with this, our voice is muted by all those barriers mentioned in “The Better Pill”. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

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