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Aging population puts pressure on local health care system

READ MORE: Aging population puts pressure on local health care system
WILMINGTON -- Our aging population is creating growing pressures on our health care system. Now, a new partnership has been developed in our area to focus on geriatric care. An alliance between Davis Health Care Center and Coastal Area Health Education Center will bring more attention to the elderly as well as train doctors in the field of geriatrics. The number of elderly people nationwide is on the rise. Cornelia Nixon Davis, Inc. Executive Director Charles Long said, "We're just not prepared with physicians or other medical staff to take care of them at this point." In response, Davis Health Care Center is partnering with Coastal Area Health Education Center, otherwise known as AHEC, to bring more attention to the residents at Davis. Dr. Mark Darrow is AHEC's president and CEO as well as a geriatrician. He says the need for elderly care is a need that will not go away. "We all know by looking at our parents, and some of us with grandparents still around, that elderly folks are living well and living longer," Darrow said. In addition to giving more attention to Davis residents the alliance will train more geriatricians to become primary care physicians. Darrow said, "In a community in a focused area where we can sit with our residents, go into this community and deliver care across the broad spectrum, not only of chronic disease but also healthy, elderly folks." Ann Branch has been a Davis resident for about seven years. She says more doctors around the clock will be a relief. Branch said, "I'll be very happy, because it seems to me that they're overworked. Every time I see them they're rushing somewhere from one end of the building to the other." Davis' executive director Charles Long says they're looking down the road. "I am extremely excited about this. It is a huge benefit for us, again, twofold. It provides the necessary services we need to operate as well as training the physicians for the future," Long said. Darrow hopes this will eventually lead to a fellowship program once the doctors in this program are trained in the field of geriatrics.

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