Free Screenings of ‘Being Mortal’ set Thursday, February 23

Film Explores End-of-Life Care

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Feb. 7, 2017Kendal-Crosslands Communities will host two free, public screenings of the acclaimed documentary “Being Mortal” on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Two years in the making and based on renowned surgeon and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande’s best-selling book, Being Mortal, the documentary by the same name is a provocative, powerful and deeply personal look at how and why, in Gawande’s words, “medicine fails the people it’s supposed to help” at the end of life.

Showings of the one-hour film, which explores end-of-life care, will be followed by an hour of discussion about the issues raised in the film. The events will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, from:

  • 10 a.m. to noon in the Kendal at Longwood Community Center, 1109 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, PA 19348; and
  • 2-4 p.m. in the Crosslands Community Center, 660 East Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

The programs are co-sponsored by Kendal-Crosslands Communities, Barclay Friends, Neighborhood Hospice and Willow Tree Hospice. After each screening, program sponsors will lead audience members in a guided conversation on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences.

“Being Mortal” delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. The film investigates caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows surgeon Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. In February 2015, “Being Mortal” aired nationwide on the PBS-TV program “Frontline.”

Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 percent die in hospitals and institutions. Ninety percent of Americans know they should have conversations about end-of-life care, yet only 30 percent have done so.

The film sheds light on how a medical system focused on a cure often leaves out the sensitive conversations that need to happen so a patient’s true wishes can be known and honored at the end of life. “Being Mortal” underscores the importance of people planning ahead and talking with family members about end-of-life decisions.

For more information about the film, visit The film is adapted from Dr. Gawande’s 2014 nationally best-selling book of the same name. More information about the book is at

The free screening is made possible by a grant from The John and Wauna Harman Foundation in partnership with the Hospice Foundation of America.

For more information about the free screening, contact Kathleen McAleer at 610-388-3044 or at Kendal at Longwood, or Rosemarie Carpenter at 610-388-5635 or at Crosslands.