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  or

All Palliative Pearls and other resources can be found by clicking Healthcare Professionals at the top of our website.

If you would prefer not to receive monthly Palliative Pearls, please email

We Are Ready to Help

Call the Referral Center at (360) 814-5550 or fill out form below and we'll contact you.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.