One of my directors sent me a link to Dr. John Sloan’s blog, Sunshiners. Her 85-year-old father, a huge fan of Dr. Sloan, had sent it to her.
Who is Dr. Sloan? Some of you who have worked with him in Vancouver might know that he was the early pioneer of the Home ViVE program (link opens only from VCH computers) in Vancouver. As a GP he spent many years doing house calls with frail seniors and through this work encouraged Vancouver Coastal Health to develop the Home ViVE program of multidisciplinary care for home bound seniors. This program targets frail seniors who would otherwise be in residential care, and allows them to have access to the medical and home supports needed to live at home.
We’re lucky he has rejoined the Home ViVE team on a part-time basis since we expanded the program in September of this year.
His website—coined The Sunshiners: Frail Old People Living at Home—has a great video of him presenting at a conference. It’s 42 minutes long but I encourage you to watch it, even if it requires a couple of sittings. I was very taken with what I learned. Dr. Sloan clearly has a love and a special view of what frail seniors want in their later years, and I find his views worth considering. He is entertaining.
Not to give away the entire plot, but I will point out the highlights.
- He speaks passionately about the mismatch between our hospital system and what frail seniors need.
- He makes the argument that for frail seniors, a “crisis” is really a crisis of function—such as mom can no longer make it down to meals—where the family can no longer cope. For these types of “crises”, the rescue that a hospital delivers scientifically appears to have no impact on improving the outcome.
- He says that many seniors (not all perhaps) don’t want a “rescue” in any case. They just want to be kept comfortable and functioning. Extension of their life does not have the same importance as comfort and quality of life.
I am curious if those of you who work with frail seniors agree with Dr. Sloan’s views or not. I am also curious about what staff and physicians in our hospitals think about Dr. Sloan’s presumption that many frail seniors do not and would rather not benefit from the wonders of our hospital system.
Take a look if you can find the time, and let me know what you think.