Despite the apparent advantages of hospice care, several barriers exist in terms of patient referral. Physicians' prognoses play a large role in determining when hospice care should begin. Predicting patient survival is a subjective decision dependent on several factors that vary before and after hospice enrollment. Currently, the stay of patients in hospice is very short; this can be attributed to late referral by physicians. Additional research on physician behavior and prognostication could help optimize the use of hospice as a valuable health care resource, thereby improving end of life care for terminally ill patients.