Objects & Places from Being Mortal

Atul Gawande
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Nursing Home

This is a place where elderly and ill people are kept; it grew out of hospitals, as an alternative to poor houses.

Assisted Living Facility

This is a place where elderly and ill people have more independence than they would in a nursing home.

Alms House

This is the place where indigent or infirm people were kept by the state in the years before Social Security and Medicare.

Do Not Resuscitate Order

This is a paper filed with a patient’s medical chart, telling the medical staff not to make any heroic efforts to save their lives, if their hearts or breathing stop.


This is a category of care reserved for people at the end of their lives, when it is more appropriate to switch to palliative or less intrusive care.

Cleveland Clinic

This is the medical practice that consulted with Gawande’s father about...

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