Innovative geriatrics program wraps up at EPOCH Senior Healthcare of Chestnut Hill
CHESTNUT HILL – A unique year-long program providing hands-on geriatric experience to Harvard Medical School fellows concluded this month, officials announced.
The program brings several young doctors working as fellows at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, to EPOCH Senior Healthcare of Chestnut Hill for firsthand exposure to geriatric care and the nursing home environment. The fellows work closely with EPOCH residents and employees to learn about the realities of daily geriatric care and the unique medical challenges facing aging individuals.
According to the American Geriatrics Society, there is currently one geriatrician for every 2,699 Americans 75 or older. That ratio is expected to drop to one geriatrician for every 5,549 older Americans by 2030. This important program at EPOCH seeks to expose young physicians to geriatrics in the hopes of counteracting the lack of physicians entering the field.
Dr. Virginia Cummings, who runs the program at EPOCH, leads the Geriatrics Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She said it is important for doctors to understand the distinct medical difficulties facing seniors, including unique drug interaction problems and rates of healing.
“So many discharges from the hospital go to a nursing home,” she said. “It’s important for doctors to be familiar with the nursing home setting and few of them are. This program is unique in trying to remedy that.”
Ellen Alperen, EPOCH administrator, said she was thrilled to have the fellows at EPOCH and is looking forward to a new group arriving soon.
“As an administrator, having the fellows in the building is a value added in terms of extra care for our residents,” she said. “This program reinforces the importance of continuing education in the senior health care field.”
This year-long program has existed at EPOCH for several years. The most recent group of fellows to complete the program consisted of doctors Andrea Berg, Diana Rucker and Tia Kostas.