Film screening and discussion focuses on end-of-life care - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Film screening and discussion focuses on end-of-life care

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MADISON (WKOW) -- SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - Madison, in partnership with Home Health United, is hosting a free, community screening of the documentary "Being Mortal" on Wednesday, November 16 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm in the Sr. Mary Jean Ryan Conference Center.

On Tuesday,  Wendy Hengsbach, Case Manager with Dean Health Plan stopped by Wake Up Wisconsin to talk about the screening.  After the screening, audience members can participate in a guided conversation on how to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences.

"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. The goal of showing the film at SSM Health St. Mary's is to encourage families to begin discussing end-of-life care with their loved ones and caregivers, and also to encourage caregivers to open the conversation about end-of-life care with their patients.

In February 2015, "Being Mortal" aired nationally on the PBS program "Frontline." The film is adapted from Dr. Gawande's 2014 nationally best-selling book of the same name.

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