How Long Do I Have, Doc?

There’s a helpful rule of thumb for prognosis near end-of-life, but first . . .

It’s always a good idea to ask what’s behind the question.  Many patients who ask this may be hunting for something else.  We tend to follow up with a question like:

  • “Could you tell me what makes you ask this now?” or
  • “I wonder how this information would change things for you?”

Then, if the person is looking for an answer, a good rule of thumb for prognosis is:

  • If you are seeing changes monthly, you probably have months.
  • If you’re seeing changes weekly, you probably have weeks.
  • If you’re seeing changes daily, you probably have days.

For more information contact Dr. Leslie Estep or Dr. Anita Meyer at Hospice of the Northwest, 360-814-5550, or lestep@hospicenw.org  or  ameyer@hospicenw.org.

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