Program explores end-of-life care, advance care planning

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.

To address this issue, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and Riverwood Healthcare Center are partnering to host a free, community screening of the PBS Frontline documentary film “Being Mortal” on Thurs., Sept. 22, at Heartwood Senior Living Community in Crosby and on Thurs., Sept. 29, at the Aitkin Public Library. Both programs will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and include a light meal.  Registration is required.  Call 218-927-5188 or email healthyliving@riverwoodhealthcare.org

This film explores the hopes of patients and families facing end-of-life decision making and their relationships with the physicians who treat them. “Being Mortal” underscores the importance of people planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions.

David Goodwin, MD

David Goodwin, MD

After the screening, Dr. David Goodwin, a CRMC physician who specializes in geriatric care, will lead audience members in a guided conversation on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences. Health care directives forms and resource information will be available.

More film, book information
“Being Mortal” 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. 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.

In February 2015, “Being Mortal” aired nationally on the PBS program “Frontline” and has recently been nominated for an Emmy award. 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 best-selling 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.