Press Release

Hospice Foundation of America to Host Dusk, a Play about End-of-Life Decision Making
Live via Zoom/August 13, 3 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Continuing Education Available

Contact: Lisa Veglahn, HFA, VP for Education, lveglahn@hospicefoundation.org

Washington, August 11 – Dusk, a play about end-of-life decisions for a family, will air live on Zoom on August 13, followed by a panel discussion with the playwright, a physician who researches advance care planning, and a hospice executive director, Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) announced Tuesday.

Hospice Foundation of America will host the production that follows the life of Gil Everette, who has had a heart attack and is now in congestive heart failure. On the eve of his 65th birthday, Gil and his adult children, with a medical social worker on hand, explore Gil's wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment options.

Written by Bryan Harnetieux, Dusk examines the complexities around decision making and family dynamics in situations that involve serious illness and death. Harnetieux is a Playwright-in-Residence at Spokane Civic Theatre in Spokane, WA, and is the author of 13 published plays, including a trilogy focused on end-of-life dilemmas (Dusk, Vesta, and Holding On ~ Letting Go.) Thursday’s performance, directed by Wesley Deitrick, will respect COVID-19 restrictions, with actors performing from different locations.

“The wonder of theater is that it allows, if not provokes, audience members to examine similar situations and conflicts in their own lives, usually for the better,” Harnetieux said. “I can only hope that, in this time of COVID-19, digital theater productions will offer a similar, if somewhat removed opportunity, especially given the risk that with the pandemic, some of us will be robbed of the intimacy we long for in saying our goodbyes.”

Following the production, a panel will discuss creative ways – including using theater – communities can encourage end-of-life planning. In addition to the playwright, panelists include:

LJ Van Scoy, MD, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Humanities and Public Health Sciences. As a physician scientist, she directs a research program that centers around end-of-life issues and includes advance care planning, communication and end-of-life decision-making.

Carlos Graveran, Executive Director of Frederick Health Hospice (Maryland). Graveran honed his skills working with pharmaceutical, home health and hospice organizations. Prior to joining Frederick Health Hospice, Graveran was Vice President of Operations for Vitas Healthcare.  A U.S. Army paratrooper veteran, Graveran has 30 years of experience in various facets of healthcare.

Registration is available here. “Tickets” for the performance are $12.95 and are free to HFA members. Continuing education (1.5 CEs) is available from a range of boards and included in registration. The production will be recorded and available to watch on-demand on HFA’s website, hospicefoundation.org.

“There has never been a more important time for people to consider the way in which they want to die,” said Amy Tucci, HFA’s President and CEO.  “With its rapid onset and life-threatening complications, COVID-19 has been a brutal wake-up call that more than 60 percent of Americans have never completed an advance care plan, nor have most discussed with loved ones how they want to die. We hope to encourage these conversations.