Hospice Care Admissions Process & Timeline

Hospice timeline

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

The hospice journey from referral to at-home care and bereavement support can be confusing. Our printable hospice timeline (PDF, 210 KB) is your guide to the typical steps for patients and their families.


Comfort care begins when a person or their family agrees with their doctor to a request a referral for care when curative treatments are no longer an option.

Steps along the comfort care journey

Step 1: Hospice referral

We will help you learn about the process, talk about your goals and concerns and schedule a free consultation. The hospice provider completes a plan of care based on your needs, goals and values.

Hospice and home health online referral form


Step 2: Admission

We arrange for a nurse visit on the day of admission. We assess needs, including medical equipment, personal supplies and medications. Referral and admission are typically complete within 24 to 48 hours.


You and your doctor are always the center of care decisions. See our hospice frequently asked questions.


Step 3: Continuing care


  • 24/7 access to care, including holidays and weekends
  • Home medical equipment and personal care supplies related to the hospice diagnosis
  • Pain and other symptoms managed to your goals
  • Respite care when family caregivers need relief
  • RN Nursing Support
  • Hospice aides to help with the tasks of daily living
  • Caregiver education and support
  • Social worker to help you navigate the medical system
  • Optional spiritual care for patients and their loved ones
  • A focus on quality of life; defined by your goals and values
  • Grief counseling for up to 12 months after the passing of a loved one
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.

Grief and pre-grief support for people and their families

Grief can start even before the death of a loved one. This anticipatory grief can be felt by anyone facing the possibility of death. It is different from the grief following death, but has many of the symptoms, including denial, anger, isolation and depression.


Final days

We help you know what to expect during end-of-life care. Support includes vigil volunteers and extra visits for challenging days.


Our promise is to arrive as soon as possible after you notify us of your loved one's passing. We'll contact your doctor and applicable officials.


Note: Patients and family may end hospice care and return to curative treatment or palliative care at any time. Families may also transfer to a different hospice provider to get the care they need.