How Do I Start Hospice Care?

HospiceHospice begins with a referral care starts with a referral. This can be a phone call to our Referral Center by your physician, a family member, or yourself. Anyone can call our Referral Center at 360-814-5550 to begin the referral process.

There are a few steps that take place within the Referral Center to confirm you are qualified to receive hospice care. This includes reviewing your medical records and confirming your diagnosis. Our team will take care of this legwork and move through these steps as quickly as possible.

If you are making a referral and you aren’t the patient, we advise having a conversation with the patient first so they understand what hospice care does and how we can help. At Hospice of the Northwest, we are firm supporters and advocates for patient autonomy and consent.

If your provider has any questions or is unfamiliar with hospice, we are happy to initiate a conversation with them as well.

Mother and sonOnce the process of gathering your medical records and speaking to your physician is completed, you will be contacted by a Referral Center representative to schedule an informational visit. This is a free, non-binding conversation to answer your questions, discuss your expectations, and talk about how we can help you. This is a great opportunity for you and your circle of support to bring up any concerns you may have about hospice care. During the informational visit, you will review the hospice process and what to expect.

A guidebook will be provided for each patient as they begin hospice care. The guidebook outlines the process and what to expect, as well as provides resources for caregivers and circles of support. View or download our guidebook in English or Español.

Hospice care is paid for through the Medicare hospice benefit. If you have private insurance, we work with them to ensure your hospice services are submitted correctly. Hospice of the Northwest is also supported by a network of generous, community donors through our Foundation so we have never turned anyone away for inability to pay.

If you or a loved one are ready to begin hospice care, or if you would like to learn more, please call our Referral Center at 360-814-5550 or contact us through the email form.

The steps to make a hospice referral

Get permission from the patient, if they are medically decisional.

Call our office at 360-814-5550 and ask to speak to someone in the Referral Center.

Our Referral Center is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., seven days a week. If there is nobody available when you call, please leave a detailed message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

We will need some basic information to begin the process, including:

    • Legal name
    • Date of birth
    • Insurance provider
    • Name of the Primary Care Physician

Our team will request your chart from your provider and review eligibility.

If you are considering hospice care, the earlier you call the better. You may find that you or your loved one qualifies earlier than anticipated.

Sometimes people wait to request support until the need for hospice care is urgent. Moving through the referral process under those conditions can be difficult for the patient and their loved ones. Referring early can make the process much less stressful and can improve the comfort and quality of life for the patient earlier.

Helpful information to have available

When you call, here are some things that can be helpful during these initial conversations:

    • Any current diagnoses or conditions
    • Treatments you may be receiving, or have recently received
    • Where you would like to receive care: Where is home for you?
    • What are your expectations and goals for end-of-life care?


We never turn anyone away due to an inability to pay or lack of insurance. If you are considering hospice care, call our office as soon as possible. You may qualify weeks or months earlier than you think.”

Bob Laws, Executive Director

We Are Ready to Help

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

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If you have any questions or want to learn more about us, please call us at (360) 814–5550 or fill out the email form.