The Hospice Care Timeline

Hospice timeline

Download a printable hospice timeline PDF (PDF, 210 KB) showing a typical patient journey.

The hospice journey from referral to continuing care and beyond can be confusing. Our printable hospice timeline (PDF, 210 KB) is your guide to a typical path for patients and family.


Step 1: Hospice referral

Hospice starts when you and your doctor agree to a request or ‘referral’ for care when curative treatment is no longer an option. We contact you within two hours to talk about your concerns and goals.


Step 2: Admission

We arrange for a nurse visit on the day of admission. We assess your individual needs, including medical equipment, supplies and medications and develop an individualized plan of care.


Referral and admission typically occur within 24-48 hours. You and your doctor are always part of key decisions.


Step 3: Continuing care


  • Available 24/7, holidays and weekends
  • RN Nursing Support
  • Caregiver education and support
  • Pain and other symptoms managed around your goals
  • Volunteers
  • Personal care support
  • Expert pain management
  • Medical equipment related to diagnosis
  • Focus on quality of life

Note: Patients and family can end hospice care and return to curative treatment at any time.


Final days

Comforting support, including vigil volunteers, at the end of life. Help for loved ones with appropriate notifications and final arrangement


Grief support for family and friends

Loved ones receive bereavement care, including, grief support resources, education and follow-up for at least 13 months.

hospice for mother

Hospice is a fully covered Medicare benefit

Coverage includes nurses, other caregivers, medicines, supplies, equipment and support, with no out-of-pocket expenses for the hospice diagnosis.


Call a program near you for information