Avera@Home Aberdeen brings documentary to show importance of quality end-of-life care

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ABERDEEN, S.D. Discussing end-of-life care for close family members is not an easy task. The Avera@Home Aberdeen program is hoping to answer questions by screening a documentary on the topic.

Courtesy of Defining Hope

These conversations usually start with a hospice nurse.

"One of the questions I'll ask is to the family to tell me, 'have they ever talked to you about what their wishes are regarding CPR, regarding feeding tube, regarding breathing tube, things like that?'" Avera Hospice RN Lisa Dennert-Howard said.

They're tough conversations to start up, but need to happen before your loved one is near the end.

"You're trying to honor your parents' wishes instead of trying to make a big decision for your parents," Dennert-Howard said.

Hospice nurses are hoping to make the whole process easier for their patients and family members.

"I've been there when babies are born and it's such a blessed, sacred event but it's just as blessed and honoring to be there at end of life," Dennert-Howard said.

The "Defining Hope" documentary has caught the interest of several college majors in Aberdeen. These include nursing, psychology, and social work.

"It's an arm of healthcare that they haven't maybe thought of, but at some point, they maybe have to deal with so it's just going to be a really great educational opportunity for those students to discover yet another area of healthcare," Avera St. Luke's Foundation Director Amy Blackstone said.

The eye-opening film follows 8 nurses and their patients as they deal with life-threatening illnesses. The film is being shown nationwide throughout the month of November to honor National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

The documentary will be shown in the Centennial Room, located upstairs in the Northern State University Student Union, and will start at 7 p.m. The screening is free to attend, but a $10 donation is suggested to help support the Avera@Home Aberdeen program.

Defining Hope is produced by Carolyn Jones Productions. The documentary explores what makes life worth living and what to do for ourselves and our loved ones as we get closer to the end of life. Filmmakers hope that through the stores of patients, families, nurses and healthcare professionals, the conversation around quality end-of-life care is brought to the forefront.

If you want more information on the documentary, visit the link located to the right of the article.