Documentary screenings to promote end-of-life discussions

  Free screenings of a documentary as well as discussions about dealing with the end of life are planned for Grand Junction.

HopeWest, St. Mary’s Hospital and Mesa County Libraries will host the events with representatives from HopeWest leading discussions following screenings of a Public Broadcasting System documentary titled “Being Mortal.”

Video screenings and discussions are set for 3 p.m. June 15 at the Saccomanno Center at St. Mary’s Hospital at 2635 N. Seventh St. and 6 p.m. July 18 at the Mesa County Library at 443 N. Sixth St.

The documentary is based on the best-selling book of the same name written by Atul Gawande, a Boston surgeon and writer for The New Yorker magazine.

The documentary follows Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients nearing the end of life. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and shows how doctors are often unprepared and uncomfortable in talking with their patients about chronic illness and death.

“This inspiring documentary will help guide people as they begin the very important conversation about end-of-life health care decisions with those they love,” said Mary Watson, community project coordinator at HopeWest. “People of all ages — from young adults to seniors — will benefit greatly from Gawande’s insights and our panel discussion.”

HopeWest operates an in-patient hospice in Grand Junction and provides hospice, palliative care and grief support services in Delta, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray and Rio Blanco counties. For more information, call 241-2212 or visit the Web site at