Welcome to Kōkua Mau

Kōkua Mau is a Movement to Improve Care for those with serious illness and their loved ones. We are Hawaii’s trusted resource for accurate information on Advance Care Planning (ACP) including Advance Directives and POLST, palliative care, which provides relief from the symptoms and stress of illness, and hospice care which provides the best care possible at the end of life. (Kōkua Mau means ‘Continuous Care‘ in Hawaiian.)

Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the devastation on Maui. The pictures and stories are truly heartbreaking and we are sending our aloha and prayers to our Maui ʻOhana.

As the tragedy on Maui unfolds and losses increase, we are all looking for ways to support and help our friends and colleagues on the ground. At this time, financial donations seem to be the best way to give.  Our friends and colleagues at Hospice Maui have created a fund for disaster assistance to provide crucial support and relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires. 

The funds raised play and will play a vital role in providing essential medical supplies, bolstering clinical teams, and offering trauma counseling services. Moreover, the donations will also assist in providing much-needed support to those who have been displaced as a result of this tragic event. For further information on how to donate (and photos of the team) please visit:


  • Note: Kōkua is the Hawaiian word for help, aid or assistance. Please make sure you use the fold out menu ʻApply my gift toʻ and chose the ʻHospice Maui Kokua Fundʻ.

Based on our member feedback we also recommended the following organizations to receive donations to help with wildfire recovery:

Updates from Hospice Maui: Melanie Dwyer, CEO, shared about their experiences in the Maui fire and its aftermath, including their plans for the future in our September 28th Kōkua Mau Meeting. Video on our YouTube channel.

Posted August 14, 2023. Updated Oct 11.

Collaborating since 1999: Kōkua Mau – A Movement to Improve Care. As a network of organizations and individuals we bring to the forefront meaningful, thoughtful and sensitive conversations on improving care and support for those with serious illness. We are viewed as a thought leader working to ensure that every individual has the right to quality care throughout their lives, including at the end of life. We advocate for quality palliative and hospice care within the medical and legislative communities in Hawai‘i.

Our goal is to create a community in which advance care planning conversations are the norm. We are fostering a movement to change social norms in Hawai‘i regarding conversations and decisions around serious illness and end-of-life care, and to provide all individuals and communities with greater choice and control regarding their quality of life. We do not focus on the end of life, but rather the quality of life.

We hope that you will find useful Hawai‘i-focused information and resources for yourself, your loved ones and those you care for.

Advance care planning (ACP) can take place years before an illness or crisis occurs and is the first part of the continuum of planning for one’s legacy wishes. To make this possible Advance Directives and POLST are key documents and our Let’s Talk Story Program is available for public and professional education.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. 

Hospice is specialized care which focuses on the needs of the person and loved ones in the last weeks and months of life and is seen as best care possible for those at the end of life.

In our Tool Kit you find all Kōkua Mau materials (as PDF files) in one place.

Kōkua Mau’s vision is a community where: the people of Hawai‘i are treated with dignity, compassion and love throughout their lives.

To make that vision a reality, Kōkua Mau’s mission is: to weave a lei of caregiving and support so that the people of Hawai‘i facing serious illness can live in the place of their choice, with relief of pain and suffering and according to their values, beliefs and traditions.

What’s New in 2023?

September 2023

September 28 at our Kōkua Mau meeting when we will hear updates from Hospice Maui from Melanie Dwyer and about the amazing work of the Kupuna Collective. Details

July 2023:

Chuukese Translations of Key Documents

Adding Chuukese as the 11th language is a milestone for us. Chuukese was the most requested language over the years and we are proud to have worked with an excellent translator. We are grateful to secure a grant that made it possible.

The Updated and Improved POLST for Hawai’i

The new POLST form is on the website as of June 29, 2023.  

If you have the pre-May 2023 Hawaiʻi POLST version, it remains valid and does not expire.

The Hawaiʻi POLST Task Force made improvements to our Hawaiʻi POLST Form, with input from local key informants, reviewing the national POLST form and best practice in other states. We encourage everyone to use the updated version of POLST. (Change approved by the DOH May 2023.) More: our POLST Information page.

Missed the presentation? Watch the 15-minute video: Improved Hawaii POLST Form 2023 step-by-step essentials with Dr. Fischberg

To read more about POLST visit our website at: kokuamau.org/polst. If you would like a short article for an in-house newsletter to highlight the changes and the importance of POLST, please let us know.

April 2023: Kōkua Mau meeting presentations by the Bereavement Network of Hawaii. more

March 2023: Community Health Workers

CHW are a valuable resource in our communities, connecting people with resources and being a bridge to health care and providers. Learn more about CHW and the valuable work they do and help and strategize about ways CHW can help those with serious illness.  Recordings available

February 2023: Compassionate Care and Evidence-Based Practice: Is it possible for them to co-exist?

Evidence Based Practice (EVP) has come to dominate in clinical practice – seeing research evidence as knowledge while silencing other conceptions of knowledge! Dr. Pat Nishimoto lead this interactive session with audience participation. More

Ohana Pacific Medical – a ‘medical clinic in your home’

Steven Ito presented about Ohana Pacific Medical and their unique model of a ‘medical clinic in your home’. More

January 2023: Optimizing Advance Care Planning Billing and Coding & Updates on Proposed Reimbursement Models for Palliative Care Services Recording availableMore

2022 Events

Dec 2022: Psychedelic Medicine and Palliative Care: An exploration of old and ancient therapies to address twenty-first century clinical challenges

Psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) is an investigational treatment for a number of mental health conditions which has gained a growing interest across a variety of settings and disciplines. Watch the recording.

Oct 2022: A Caregivers Journey with Palliative Care in 3 minutes

A moving caregiver’s testimony about her and her husband’s cancer journey and palliative care. Living on Maui, Andrea talks story about how they accessed palliative care in Honolulu and at home  (This shortened version is thanks to editing suggestions by our Kōkua Mau volunteer extraordinaire.) Watch the recording.

Sept 2022: Prognostication

Our very own Kōkua Mau Board president Dr. Daniel Fischberg presented about Prognostication. Watch the recording. Estimating and communicating prognosis, while often challenging, is often an essential part of care for those living with serious illness. Patients, family members, and providers, all need good prognostic information on which to base important decisions.

June 2022: A Caregivers Journey with Palliative Care

A moving caretaker’ testimony about her and her husband’s cancer journey and palliative care on our YouTube channel. Living on Maui she talks story how they accessed palliative care in Honolulu and at home.

Palliative Care – Extra Support for people with Cancer

Recording available. A presentation by Kōkua Mau and the Quality of Life Committee of the Hawaii Cancer Coalition to support individuals living with cancer, their families and their caregivers, as well as healthcare providers who want to learn more about how Palliative Care can support individuals with serious illness. Presenters:

  • Dr. Daniel Fischberg, Medical Director, Pain & Palliative Care Department, The Queen’s Medical Center
  • Sara-May Colón, Chaplain at Adventist Health.
  • Hear a conversation with Andrea Bacos about her “Caregiver’s Journey” with Palliative Care.
  • Jeannette Koijane, Executive Director, Kōkua Mau: Where to find Palliative Care in Hawaii

March 2022 Kōkua Mau Meeting – Home Care Options for Veterans

What veteran home care options are available in the community? How can we partner with providers to help navigate veteran benefits & services for the seriously ill?” Kōkua Mau’s own Dr. Emese Somogyi, Physician with the VA presented about their programs and Dr. Melton, Amanda Wong (APRN) and Dr. Nakamoto graciously agreed to participate to address other support services (e.g. HBPC, H:HHA, etc) that may be provided by the VA. This was a presentation of the We Honor Veterans program in collaboration with Bristol Hospice and will include a brief presentation by Erin Hamilton. Recording available.

Feb 2022

If you missed the February 2022 presentation Veterans Benefits and Entitlements with Col. Ron Han, Director of State Office of Veterans Services, you can view it on our YouTube Channel.

Jan 2022

On January 27 we had a presentation of our recent Instagram campaign. Watch the video on our YouTube channel. In the Fall 2021 our first Instagram Campaign promoted Palliative Care. Researched, implemented and evaluated by three amazing University if Hawai‘i West O‘ahu students they presented their work.  We believe this is the first Instagram campaign of its kind in the country geared at the public. 

In Memoriam: Aloha Greg LaGoy

We were deeply saddened to learn that Greg LaGoy, CEO of Hospice Maui, Inc., passed away January 4, 2022. To honor the life and legacy of Dr. Gregory LaGoy, Hospice Maui has established the Greg LaGoy Memorial Fund.

Our COVID-19 Resources Page provides up-to-date information, webinars, guidelines and materials helpful for our members and supporters.

Events from 2021 & 2020 in the archive

Ongoing Current Events:

Register here to receive free Kōkua Mau e-Newsletters with local and national updates and events.

Kōkua Mau’s vision is a community where: the people of Hawai‘i are treated with dignity, compassion and love throughout their lives.

To make that vision a reality, Kōkua Mau’s mission is: to weave a lei of caregiving and support so that the people of Hawai‘i facing serious illness can live in the place of their choice, with relief of pain and suffering and according to their values, beliefs and traditions.

Kōkua Mau depends on donations and annual membership fees to carry on with our work. Please help us improve quality of life for people living with serious illness or at the end of life here in Hawaii. This is a community wide effort that needs everyone’s support.

►  I want to join Kōkua Mau as an individual member
►  I want my organization to join Kōkua Mau