Film Explores End-of-Life Care and Conversations

Release Date: 
March 20, 2017

Being Mortal Promo

3 free screenings of ‘Being Mortal’ offered through April 20

Three free screenings of the documentary “Being Mortal,” which explores the hopes of patients and families with terminal illnesses and the choices they face, will be offered locally through April 20.

The screenings are jointly sponsored by UVM Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) and Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont (BCBSVT), with additional funding from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation, in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

The film follows surgeon Atul Gawande, author and staff writer for The New Yorker, as he shares stories from patients at the end of life, their families and doctors. When Dr. Gawande’s own father is diagnosed with cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest.

Three screenings are scheduled:

  • Thursday, March 30
    Light snacks from 5:30-6 p.m.
    Film and discussion from 6-8 p.m.
    Kellogg-Hubbard Library
    135 Main St., Montpelier
  • Wednesday, April 19
    Light snacks from 5:30-6 p.m.
    Film and discussion from 6-8 p.m.
    Twin Valley Senior Center
    4583 US Route 2, East Montpelier
  • Thursday, April 20
    Light snacks from 5:30-6 p.m.
    Film and discussion from 6-8 p.m.
    Stowe Community Church
    137 Main Street, Stowe

After each screening, audience members are invited to participate in a roundtable discussion focused on taking concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences. The discussion will include questions and comments from attendees and representatives of several Washington County care agencies, including CVMC, OneCare Vermont, Vermont Ethics Network and the Wake Up to Dying Project.

The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so patients’ true wishes can be known and honored at the end of life.

“Being Mortal” underscores the importance of planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions.

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.

In February 2015, “Being Mortal” aired nationally on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) program “Frontline.”  For more information about the film, visit

The film is adapted from Dr. Gawande’s 2014 national best-seller of the same name. More information about the book is at

To learn more about these screenings, visit