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Attorney Deborah Fauver to serve as panelist for “Being Mortal” Event regarding end of life decisions and advance care planning.

September 23, 2016

‘Being Mortal’ film screening event to be held Oct. 5

“Hope is not a plan.” — Dr. Atul Gawande
CONWAY — The Mount Washington Valley community is invited to a free screening of the PBS Frontline documentary, “Being Mortal,” on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Kennett High School.

Following the film, a panel of local professionals will answer audience questions and share their own perspectives on advance care planning. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and informational displays; film begins at 6 p.m. in Loynd Auditorium.
The evening is hosted by Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice, Memorial Hospital and members of the Community Health Collaborative. According to Sandy Ruka, Visiting Nurse executive director, the screening is another part of the group’s ongoing campaign to bring advance care planning education and assistance to the community.
“The film encourages families to have these tough but important conversations,” said Ruka, who chairs the collaborative’s advance care planning committee. “We also hope it can be a catalyst for discussions between patients and their health-care providers. The goal is to take real steps in identifying, communicating and documenting our end-of-life wishes.”
The Hospice Foundation of America selected the collaborative to host the event as part of the foundation’s “Being Mortal” public awareness campaign. The national effort is based on Dr. Atul Gawande’s best-selling book, “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Really Matters in the End.”
The project uses the PBS Frontline film, “Being Mortal,” to educate audiences on the importance of talking about end-of-life preferences and values with families and medical professionals. Gawande asks, “How do we start the conversation with our loved ones and health-care providers? What would our priorities be if our time was limited?”
Leona Cloutier, family nurse practitioner with Memorial Hospital Primary Care, says working in family practice means embracing end-of-life care. “We have to educate people that these are not sad conversations to have. By knowing how a person wants to be cared for at the end of life, you have the chance to honor their wishes.”
Cloutier also stresses the importance of conversations between patient and provider. “I think it’s important to have well thought-out and meaningful conversations with my patients. Being prepared gives family members the chance to spend more quality time with their loved one.”
A guided discussion will take place after the screening facilitated by Rev. Mary Edes and Julie Lanoie, hospice volunteer director. Panelists include Dr. Rachel Hamilton of Memorial Hospital Primary Care, Dr. David Ladly of Saco River Medical Group, Rev. Sean Dunker Bendigo, attorney Deborah Fauver of Cooper Cargill Chant, Christine MacDonald of White Mountain Community Health Center, Memorial Hospital’s discharge planner Jennifer Grise, Jayne Maher from ServiceLink and family caregiver Jane Duggan.
Ruka said the group felt it was important to have a diverse panel available to answer questions. “It helps people see how all of these roles are inter-related in the discussion of advance care planning.”
She added that more educational opportunities are already planned for later in October. For those in health-care related fields, Continuing Medical Education credits are available through Memorial Hospital for the Oct. 5 program. Cooper Cargill Chant and the Hospice Foundation of America are sponsoring the event.
In his book, Gawande wrote, “As our time winds down, we all seek comfort in simple pleasures — companionship, everyday routines, the taste of good food, the warmth of sunlight on our faces. We become less interested in the rewards of achieving and accumulating, and more interested in the rewards of simply being.”
“After all,” he concluded, “our ultimate goal is not a good death, but a good life to the very end.”
For more about the “Being Mortal” event or advance care planning services, call Visiting Nurse, Home Care & Hospice at (603) 356-7006 or (603) 800-499-4171, or Memorial Hospital Population Health at (603) 356-5461, Ext. 2187. Additional event information can be found at VNHCH.org.