Mike Bernhagen - Consider the Conversation
When his mother, Rita, passed away from congestive heart failure and vascular dementia, Mike watched her slow, physical and cognitive decline as well the struggle of his family and healthcare providers. He was inspired to join the hospice movement and is currently the Director of Community Engagement & Care Partner Relations in a local hospice in WI. Mike co-produced, along with Terry Kaldhusdal, the multiple award- winning documentary "Consider the Conversation." He sees the potential it has to make a difference - both in terms of de-mystifying the dying experience and encouraging people to begin the conversation about their end-of-life wishes well before the finish line is in sight.
Fee: Call For Quote
Mike Bernhagen, Director of Community Engagement & Care Partner Relations with Rainbow Hospice Care in Jefferson, WI, is well-acquainted with the American medical system. From 1994 to 2003, he worked in business development for one of the Midwest's largest integrated healthcare delivery systems and multi-specialty group practices. During this decade, his time and energy were spent focusing on things like "physician incentive compensation plans", "revenue growth", "patient acquisition", and "referral relationship development." Those priorities changed in late 2003, however, when his mother, Rita, passed away from congestive heart failure and vascular dementia. Watching her slow, physical and cognitive decline as well the struggle of his family and her healthcare providers to deal with the process inspired him to join the hospice movement in 2004.
Since that time, Mike has been on the road working as a hospice advocate. Over the course of that journey, his travels have taken him to countless destinations - clinics, churches, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior citizen centers, disease specific support groups, and private residences - where he's talked with literally thousands of people from all walks of life. But, it has been with the dying and their loved ones that his most meaningful and rewarding conversations have taken place. In fact, one of the great lessons he's learned from terminally ill people is that most are not afraid to die; rather they are afraid of the dying process. Some of the common fears they have are:
Am I going to suffer?
Am I going to be a burden upon my family?
Will I have to leave my home?
Will I die alone?
Will I still get to see my doctor?
Will I leave unfinished business?
In his documentary film, Mike sees the potential it has to make a difference - both in terms of de-mystifying the dying experience and encouraging people to begin the conversation about their end-of-life wishes well before the finish line is in sight. Mike and his wife, Denise, reside in Waukesha, Wisconsin along with their two children, ages 14 and 10.
Consider the Conversation: A Theatrical Film Presentation and Community Conversation
Inspired by the powerful premiere of Consider the Conversation: A Documentary on a Taboo Subject, this program is designed to create a major media event. It includes a musical prelude featuring the music of Steve Price, RN; an introduction of the film by the co-producers; a big screen presentation of the documentary; and either an audience talk back session involving the producers or a live panel discussion moderated by Michael Bernhagen and featuring Terry Kaldhusdal and local experts.
This program is required to be held in a theatrical setting and the event underwriter is entitled to proceeds from ticket sales. As part of the program offering, Mike and Terry welcome local newspaper, radio and television interviews.
Consider the Conversation: Unplugged
Rare is the documentary filmmaker who has both personal and professional experience with end-of-life issues, let alone the privilege of being granted perspective by patients, family members, doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy and national experts. In this program, co-producers Michael Bernhagen and Terry Kaldhusdal provide "behind the scenes" perspective into the making of Consider the Conversation: A Documentary on a Taboo Subject. In particular, they screen and analyze several clips from the film; share their incredibly moving personal stories of loss; and relate a Frank Capra-like story about overcoming long odds to produce a film that is not only considered the long-awaited answer to the political rhetoric in Washington, but is also changing the culture of medicine.
The length of this presentation = 90 minutes. Optional audience Q&A session = 30 minutes.
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