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Dr. John Sloan

Home Care Doctor, Author of A Bitter Pill

As the baby boomers grow older, health care for the elderly has become an increasing concern. Advocating a shift from invasive treatment and hospitalization to palliative care, Dr. John Sloan provides clear solutions to a problematic system.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


What’s Wrong with Care of the Elderly?
From overmedication to getting stuck in the hospital, nearly everyone knows a healthcare horror story about a frail elderly person. The modern healthcare system does a beautiful job of its priorities of rescue and prevention, but very old people near the end of their lives get caught and sometimes mangled in the machinery. This presentation describes the problem and points the way to solutions.

Diet has No Impact on Health
Living longer by eating right is as unquestioned as quitting smoking and annual checkups. But the scientific evidence for avoiding salt, trans fat, and sugar, and emphasizing whole grains and vegetables, is astoundingly weak. Here the numbers are reviewed, along with the arguments pro and con. An against-the-stream view whose time may be coming.

Keeping the Elderly Out of the Hospital
There are ways to avoid aged loved ones landing in the acute-care hospital when they can’t possibly benefit. Some of them are simple tricks, some involve planning and the right kind of care at home, but eventually a change in the defaults we use to deal with health care crisis is needed. And it’s coming. A rundown of how to cope now and how to plan for the future.

Rational Prescribing for the Frail Elderly
Drugs are a big part of the problem with old people’s healthcare. The answer is prescribing that switches priorities from prevention and guidelines to comfort and function. Health professionals, administrators, and anyone who is close to an overmedicated elderly person can appreciate the logic, and may benefit from this description of doing it right.

Mental Capability Evaluation
When someone elderly, intellectually disabled, or brain-injured must make decisions involving life’s major commitments, sometimes it helps to be sure they know what they’re doing. This is an outline of the steps necessary to be sure someone is ready to marry, manage their finances, decide about healthcare, and make a will. Of interest to lawyers, health professionals, and general audiences.

Home Care of the Elderly
John Sloan has been a pioneer of home primary care for housebound old people for 20 years. This presentation describes the challenges of setting up his practice, some of the fascinating things he’s seen over the years, and what still needs to happen before this badly needed pattern of care becomes business as usual.

  • Dr. Sloan's presentation style is warm and engaging. His compassion and expertise is very apparent. The evaluations filled out by our audience of 2010 health Care Professionals including 75 physicians from around BC consistently rated him the highest that day.

    - South Island Health Authority

Summary Profile

Dr. 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 thirty years of practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He has lectured throughout Canada and in Europe and the United States, and is sought after as an inspirational speaker on geriatrics. He lives in Vancouver and Roberts Creek, B.C. Medical treatment of elderly people, says Sloan, is not working. Worse, it is often harmful. In his 2009 book A Bitter Pill, he examines why medical treatment-from modern medicine’s one-size-fits-all prevention strategy to hospital stays that don’t benefit anyone-is failing them.

In clear, accessible language, Sloan argues that we must understand what people in poor health at the end of their lives really need: comfort, dignity, and quality of life. He also argues that caregivers, sons, daughters, nurses, doctors, and social workers-all of us-must assume responsibility for what happens to the elderly and give these loved ones the kind of care we hope, one day, someone will give us.