ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Best-selling author and physician Dr. Atul Gawande and family caregiver Rory Feek from the Grammy-nominated country music duo JOEY+RORY will participate in a panel discussion on how we, as a nation, can provide better care for people with serious, potentially life-limiting illness. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is hosting a Congressional Screening of the PBS documentary, Being Mortal, to examine the ultimate limitations and failures of our healthcare system in providing quality care through the end of life. The event will be held Wednesday, June 22 on Capitol Hill.
Following the screening, NHPCO President and CEO Don Schumacher will moderate a roundtable discussion featuring Dr. Gawande, Patrick Conway, MD, CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and CMS Chief Medical Officer, and Rory Feek. He was the primary caregiver for his wife Joey, who died from cervical cancer in March at the age of 40.
Feek shared his wife's experiences and challenges very publicly on the couple's blog ThisLifeILive.com. His words captured the attention and hearts of millions across the country. In one post, he explained the difficult decision to forego curative treatment. "Sometimes there just aren't enough surgeries — or doctors — or chemotherapies — or prayers," he writes. "And you have to wipe the tears from your cheeks and say the words that you were hoping to never have to say …enough."
"We are honored to have Dr. Gawande, Dr. Conway and Rory Feek join us for this event," says Schumacher. "They all bring a unique perspective to our discussion that will focus on the importance of advance care planning for everyone, at all ages."
The Congressional film screening and panel discussion aims to encourage dialogue about advance care planning. In the film Being Mortal – based on Dr. Gawande's book of the same name – the relationship between doctors and patients with advanced illness is examined and the film illustrates how many doctors are not comfortable with talking about serious illness and death with their patients.
Joey Feek chose to spend her final months at home with the support of hospice and surrounded by her loved ones. "We came home," Rory Feek writes in his blog. "Not to die. But to live. To put our hands in each other's and sit out on the back porch and watch the sun set as our sweet little baby girl plays on a blanket in front of us."
This screening, hosted by NHPCO, is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.
To learn more about this event, go to www.nhpco.org/beingmortal.
NHPCO offers free information on advance care planning and state-specific advance directives. Visit www.caringinfo.org to learn more.
Amanda M. Bow
NHPCO is the oldest and largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. NHPCO's mission is to lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end of life, www.nhpco.org.
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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization