“Being Mortal” free screening and discussion explores end-of-life-care

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On Oct. 12, 2017, at 4-6 p.m. Brattleboro Area Hospice will host a community screening of the documentary “Being Mortal” at the Rockingham Free Public Library at 65 Westminster St. After the screening, audience members can participate in a facilitated conversation about the film, including a focus on the importance of talking about and planning your healthcare wishes throughout one’s lifespan. The expert panelists will include Dr. Dan Caloras, M.D., co-medical director of VNH Hospice; Seth Gypson, R.N., VNH Hospice nurse case manager; Emma Gardner, M.S.W., medical social worker, Bayada Hospice; and Leslie Goldman, M.S.N., M.P.H., A.P.R.N., family practice nurse practitioner, Cheshire Medical Center and local Bellows Falls resident.

“Being Mortal” delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows a surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so a patient’s true wishes can be known and honored at the end.

“Being Mortal” underscores the importance of people planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions. Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 percent die in hospitals and institutions. Ninety percent of Americans know they should have conversations about end-of-life care, yet only 30 percent have done so.

In February 2015, “Being Mortal” aired nationally on the PBS program Frontline. For more information about the film, visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/being-mortal/. The film is adapted from Dr. Gawande’s 2014 nationally bestselling book of the same name. More information about the book is at http://atulgawande.com/book/being-mortal/.

The free screening is made possible by a grant from the John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Patty Dunn at 802-257-0775, x 102 or patty.dunn@brattleborohospice.org.

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