So how do we know when to ask about life expectancy? In my opinion it is practical to ask in instances of chronic disease that do not seem to be improving i.e. an individual with repeated cardiac issues and hospitalizations, a diabetic whose treatment continues to require more care and for individuals who seem to have declined rapidly. Sometimes a physician may or may not be able to give an accurate response and many worry, when asked, about giving too much or too little time so their responses remain vague. A request for a hospice evaluation may offer more information. Hospice agencies generally do these without charge and can provide an evaluation that offers guidance and information. It is sometimes at this point that a physician will prescribe formal hospice care.