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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Hospice Care

If you are told your cancer has advanced, you may want to ask your doctor or health care team about hospice care. You should understand the expected benefits of hospice care, along with any restrictions for treatment or other services if you decide to start hospice care. Here are some general questions to consider asking. (For questions to ask when choosing a hospice service, see Finding a Hospice Program.)

  • Do you think it's time to consider hospice care? Why or why not?
  • What will hospice offer me that you cannot?
  • What will hospice not be able to offer me?
  • Will I be in charge of the decisions that are made?
  • Where do you recommend I receive hospice care?
  • Do you think I need special equipment?
  • Will you still be involved in my care if I decide to get hospice services?
  • What's the next step?
  • Should I contact hospice services?
  • Do you have a recommended list of hospice providers?
  • Is there a cost difference between hospice providers?
  • What if I sign up for hospice then change my mind?
  • What should I tell my family?
  • What should I do if I have an emergency while I'm getting hospice care?

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Forman WB, Kitzes JA, Anderson RP, Sheehan DK. Hospice and Palliative Care: Concepts and Practice, 2nd ed. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2003.

Hospice Directory. Hospice Myths and Realities. Accessed at on April 20, 2016.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Hospice Care. 7/23/2015. Accessed at on April 20, 2016.

Last Revised: May 10, 2019

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