Dr. Rita McCracken at St. Vincent’s Langara residential care facility.

Dr. Rita McCracken brings hope to elder patients

November 8th, 2017

In honour of Family Doctor Week, we’re celebrating a family physician who brings hope to many, all year round, and at many different levels of care. Family physician Dr. Rita McCracken is a clinician, researcher, educator and administrator with Providence Health Care.

With a special interest in healthy aging, including pharmacology in frail elders, Dr. McCracken became concerned at the number of medications seniors were being exposed to. She went to the medical literature to learn more, only to find there was little to read. As a result, the PhD she is currently doing involves quantifying harms and benefits in order to make better decision-making tools.

Dr. McCracken is quick to explain her interest in elder care.

“I was raised in a big Catholic family,” she says. “Someone was always being born or dying. In medical school, I was surprised at how death and aging were ignored and maybe even feared. But I feel comfortable working with this group of patients and feel privileged to do so. End of life can be a difficult part of our job; but it is not failure when it happens.”

Family doctors provide 90% of health care in BC – we depend on our family doctor at all stages of life, from birth to death and for all of life’s joys and travails in between. Yet a key goal of Dr. McCracken and the 300 family doctors in her department is keeping you out of hospital by helping you stay healthy. That begins, she says, with you, and with your developing a relationship with your GP.

“In my practice, especially with my patients who are very old, I spend a lot of time getting to know them as a person, not as a collection of their diseases. Because knowing them as a person is really going to help me make the best decisions about the treatment they need for those diseases.”

Dr. McCracken is Associate Head of Providence Health Care’s Department of Family Medicine and is a scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC and supervises and mentors family medicine residents at St. Paul’s.

You can bring hope to many, by making your gift today to support Lights of Hope and greatest needs at the hospitals and residences that St. Paul’s Foundation supports.


St. Paul's Foundation