News and Information

Film Explores End-of-Life Care Free Screening "Being Mortal" on March 23


Gaston Hospice, in partnership with CaroMont Health, invites the community to attend a free screening of the documentary, “Being Mortal” on Thursday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Dogwood and Magnolia Rooms at CaroMont Regional Medical Center. The screening is part of a nationwide public awareness campaign that uses the concept “Being Mortal,” based on the book of the same name by Atul Gawande, MD, to educate and encourage people to talk openly about end-of-life decisions.

According to the Hospice Foundation of America, 70 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.

Aired nationally on the PBS program “Frontline” in February 2015, “Being Mortal” delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness and investigates the practice of caring for the dying through the exploration of patient-doctor relationships. The film follows Dr. 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.

Organizations that were selected as a screening site had to complete an application process and were chosen based on the ability to meet specific criteria such as partnering with a community organization, providing the event at no cost to the public and agreeing to participate in a post-screening evaluation.

“Gaston Hospice is proud to sponsor the ‘Being Mortal’ project in conjunction with the Hospice Foundation of America,” said Richard Lahm, Director of Gaston Hospice. “Our screening is one of 771 events that will take place across the United States between February 2016 and June 2017. The national campaign engages audiences through film and discussion of critical end-of-life issues and how to navigate that part of life with empowerment, compassion and dignity.”

After the screening, a panel will be available to guide conversation with audience members to consider serious questions like, “Who will make your healthcare decisions if you can’t?” or “What kind of care do you want if you’re dying or seriously ill?” The panel will be led by Michael Case, MD, Medical Director at Gaston Hospice; Gary Shenk, MD, Gaston Hospice Board member and Rebecca Brown, MD, Medical Director of CaroMont Palliative Care, a collaborative team that works closely with patients and families facing end-of-life care decisions.

For more information about the film, visit or to view the trailer, visit

The film is adapted from Dr. Gawande’s 2014 nationally best-selling book of the same name. More information about the book can be found at The free screening is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

For more information about the free screening, please contact Terri Ray at

Have you ever asked yourself, “Where did the time go?” or thought, “It seems like it was just yesterday when…” With all of life’s responsibilities, it’s easy to lose sight of life’s true meaning. While buying a new house and getting a long-awaited promotion at work are exciting milestones and should be celebrated, what really matters when we come to the end of our life? Very often, this is a poignant question for people who are facing end-of-life decisions as a result of a terminal illness or because of the natural aging process. The truth is, we should all ask this question no matter our age or stage in life.

As an extension of the “Being Mortal” awareness campaign, CaroMont Health asked members of the community to talk about what it means to them to “live their best day.”

Dr. Michael Case, Medical Director, Gaston Hospice
"Sometimes the idea of living your “best possible day” seems too big for me to wrap my brain around. so I am learning to enjoy instead the best possible moment. Remembering to live in this moment, no longer needlessly trapped by the pain of the past that never changes, and free from the fear of a future that always changes, allows me to live this moment more fully, making it the BEST possible moment! This moment is all I ever really have, but yet, if I live it freely , one fully free moment at a time, I may be lucky to string enough of those moments together to have my BEST POSSIBLE DAY today."

Ron Owenby, Board Member, Gaston Hospice
"To live my best day means (or meant to me) to be on the Blue Ridge Parkway beholding by the wonder of God's creation, surrounded and supported by those we love the most in this world."


About HFA
Hospice Foundation of America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. HFA meets its mission by providing programs for professional development, public education and information; funding research, producing publications, and by providing information on issues related to hospice and end-of-life care. Our programs for healthcare professionals are designed to improve care of those with terminal illness and those experiencing the process of grief, and are offered on a national basis. Our programs for the public are designed to assist individual consumers of health care who are coping with issues of caregiving, terminal illness, and grief.