Admission Eligibility Guidelines

Would you be surprised if a patient of yours died within the next 6 months?

Meaningful conversations between providers and their patients about appropriate care choices can lead to better outcomes. Evidence-based medicine is more than just using clinically proven procedures: it is equally important to decide what not to do. When having a dialogue with patients about their care goals when they have a terminal illness, it is helpful to have criteria about hospice guidelines to augment your clinical judgment. The Guideline for Hospice Admission (shown as tabs below) has some helpful tips and descriptions about the benchmarks commonly used when determining eligibility for hospice. Informational visits are available for your patients and can take place at home or in a hospital setting.

Disease Specific Eligibility Guidelines

Tools & Resources

Printable Guidelines to Hospice Admission
Hospice Comfort Medications

Palliative Pearls



Palliative Pearl –Beware of the F word – “Futility”

We find “Futility” is not a useful term when discussing treatment options.

  • It is not well defined and tends to be inflammatory.
  • It can mask value judgments by clinicians
  • It can pit clinicians against each other and against the patient and family, making is harder to find realistic and patient-centered treatments.

When you feel a therapy may be “futile”, we suggest you replace the word with “non-beneficial care”. It helps patients and other clinicians understand you are weighing harms and benefits and making a recommendation toward helpful therapies.

When you hear the F-word think about whether there is disagreement in the treatment team, and whether more work is needed to improve prognostic awareness.


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

Other Provider Resources

Fast Facts
Palliative Doctors
Conversation Project
National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization
Vital Talks – Having the tough conversations

For more provider resources contact our office at (360) 814-5550

Provider of the Quarter

Each quarter we are honoring a provider or department for their commitment to Hospice of the Northwest and the care of the patients we serve.

This quarter we are honoring Kevin Bingham, RPh from Hilltop Pharmacy in Mount Vernon, WA

Thank you for your dedication!