Housecall Providers and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) hosted a free, community screening and discussion of the PBS Frontline film Being Mortal on Thursday, July 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the OHSU Auditorium. The event, made possible by the Hospice Foundation of America was attended by over 180 people making it one of the largest screenings in the country.
One goal of the evening was to engage the attendees in a dialogue about advance care planning so that they would have the tools to begin the conversation with loved ones and their medical providers about what matters most to them at the end of life. Attendees were also equipped with the knowledge and materials to take the next steps in developing their end-of-life care wishes.
The documentary, based on Atul Gawande’s best-selling book of the same name, 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 also 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.
A panel discussion followed the screening led by Sarah Shannon, Ph.D., RN senior associate dean for academic affairs in the OHSU School of Nursing. Panelists included Housecall Providers Medical Director, Dr. Pamela Miner, Jill Sydnor, a family member of a former patient, and three representatives from OHSU: Malinda Burt, BSN nurse manager of Adult Bone Transplant Unit; Dr. Erik Fromme, medical director for OHSU Palliative Care Services; and Keren McCord, a licensed clinical social worker at the Knight Cancer Institute.
Each panel participant offered stories and insights around their personal and professional experiences with end-of-life care as well as engaged audience members to address the roadblocks preventing them from moving the discussion forward with family and friends.
If you would like to make your wishes known to loved ones and your medical provider in an official capacity, you can download a copy of Oregon’s advance directive here.