Special screening of film at Quinnipiac explores end-of-life care

Courtesy: Quinnipiac University

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An important discussion is happening Tuesday at Quinnipiac University about an issue that impacts just about every family at some point, that most people don’t want to talk about.

Tuesday’s discussion will follow the special screening of the PBS film “Being Mortal.” The film is based on a book that looks at caring for the dying. The film shows real families who are trying to have conversations about end-of-life decisions. It’s a topic that is difficult for families.

According to Sheila Molony, Quinnipiac Universities Associate Professor of Nursing:

Even for health care providers when they realize that you are approaching those last days, they don’t want to bring that topic up. I think the research has demonstrated that many or most people have not had that conversation with their health care providers, with their primary care providers.

The School of Nursing is hosting a screening of the film today. In it, Dr. Atul Gawande tells the story of his own father’s terminal cancer, and how his doctors were pushing him to take more medicine.

“And my dad says, ‘Well, what if I don’t take any?'” Dr. Gawande recounts in the film. Even though his father was dying, doctors were pushing more treatment. “It was holding out a hope that was not a realistic hope in order to get him to take the chemotherapy.”

“If I really knew that I only had weeks left, or maybe months, but let’s say weeks, how do I want to spend those weeks, really?” asked Professor Molony. “And that’s very important time, that’s very special time.”

If we don’t have the conversation, we will never get to make use of that time. Plus, a new Yale study shows over 40% of older people have not communicated their end-of-life wishes to their surrogates. So people could live out their last days getting painful treatments they don’t even want.

For more information about the film, visit www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/being-mortal/. The film is adapted from Gawande’s 2014 best-selling book of the same name.

The screening, which is being offered by Quinnipiac and AARP CT, is being made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

Registration is required by March 19. Please call 1-877-926-8300 or visit aarp.cvent.com/QUBeingMortal.

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