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.)

Thank you to all of our amazing health care professionals and your incredible contributions in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Collaborating since 1999: Kōkua Mau – A Movement to Improve Care. As 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.


Pink cherry blossoms as a spacer to separate the content on the pages at Kokau Mau dot org

What’s New in 2023?

April 2023

April 27 at the 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.

World AIDS Day Hawaii Dec 1, 2021

The recording of the beautiful December 1, 2021 World AIDS Day Hawai‘i event, with hula and mele, is now available on YouTube and on worldaidsdayhawaii. The 18th Annual Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award this year went to: Hawai’i Center for AIDS Nurses, honoring those who support and care for people living with HIV and AIDS in Hawaii, now and in the past.

November 2021

Hawaii Public Radio’s (HPR) The Body Show hosted by Dr. Kathy Kozak invited Kōkua Mau for a three part series of interviews of the many aspects of on Advance Care Planning. All three episodes are currently steaming on Hawaii Public Radio’s webpage. More

Palliative Care and Hospice with Jeannette Koijane, Kōkua Mau’s Executive Director

Health Care Directives and POLST with Hope Young, Kōkua Mau’s Advance Care Coordinator.

Dealing With Grief Sarah May Colón, Director of Missions and Spiritual Care at Castle Medical Center

Oct 2021: Advance Care Planning Innovations in Community Outreach in Hawaii

We just posted the video on our YouTube Channel. Kōkua Mau’s own Advance Care Planning Coordinator, Hope Young, and Let’s Talk Story Ambassador, Susie Lee presented at the October 2021 Kōkua Mau meeting. Hear more about how Kōkua Mau’s Let’s Talk Story Program has grown, even during a pandemic!

Sept 2021: Instagram Campaign was launched: Palliative Care – Care The Way It Should Be

Our project goal is to answer the question, “Can social media be an effective tool in encouraging the public to seek more information on Palliative Care as an option for themselves or their loved ones?” Our Palliative Care, Care The Way It Should Be, public awareness campaign launches this week on Instagram. The IG feed is in the bottom of the left sidebar.

We encourage you to follow us @Kokua.Mau and hope you will click like, share, and repost our content on your accounts. Follow Kōkua Mau’s first Instagram account, and the LinkTree for clickable links in the bio. Details on our webpage.

Aug 2021 “Watch Your Mouth! Three Problems of Language in Palliative Care”

In our August meeting we welcomed Jennifer Moore Ballentine in person. We heard Jennifer present recently at a national conference and we are honored and pleased that she has agreed to present to Kokua Mau. Recording on our YouTube Channel.

Wed. 8/18: 21 Gun Salute: The military culture and traditions surrounding death

Kōkua Mau’s own Dr. Pat Nishimoto discussed Military Culture on zoom in the context of caring for veterans. Dr. Nishimoto has decades of experience as an oncology nurse specialist with Tripler Army Medical Center and is a nationally known teacher. Email Dr. Joseph Eppink for more information. A recording of the presentation is now available on YouTube

7/29 Focusing on Transformation: the 2021 Virtual Conference from NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA

We watched the streamed conference together. The conference organizers, NHPCO, AAHPM and HPNA, recognized the profound and historic impact of the global health pandemic. That is why the 2021 Virtual Conference is focused on transformation. More

6/22 & 23 our Virtual Summit Working Together: Forging the Future of Serious Illness Care

Kōkua Mau collaborated with our partners in California and Arizona on a virtual summit for those working to improve care for those with serious illness. Our partner the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) maintains the dedicated website for the Annual Summit. More

6/26 Hawaii MedQuest Palliative Care Summit

We solicited your feedback on a future, first-of-its kind, palliative care benefit for MedQUEST members at our historic Virtual Palliative Care Summit. A MedQUEST palliative care benefit could significantly improve how we in Hawai’i care for some of our most complex and seriously ill family, friends, and neighbors. Recording available. More

May 2021: Update on POLST nationally, new documents and the national POLST Form

In our May meeting we welcomed Amy Vandenbroucke, Executive Director for National POLST, with her presentation about what is happening with POLST nationally, including new guidance documents and the new National POLST form. Watch the recording on our YouTube Channel.

Communication skills for talking about COVID vaccines 

As you may communicate about vaccination issues, this is a good resource from our colleagues at VitalTalk. Their newest supplement to the COVID-Ready Communication Playbook addresses communication skills for talking about COVID vaccines. https://www.vitaltalk.org/guides/communication-skills-for-the-covid-vaccine/. Details on our COVID-19 page.

In 2020, The Conversation Project updated their Starter Kits and developed new Starter Guides to support and encourage people to have ‘The Conversation’ about what matters most. These newly revised Starter Guides have been thoughtfully curated and edited by Conversation Project Champions across the nation who regularly use The Conversation Project Materials. See the new versions here:

  • Download the new Your Conversation Starter Guide
  • Download the new Your Guide to Choosing a Health Care Agent

April 2021: An Update on Hawaii’s Our Care Our Choice Act

Our April 2021 Kōkua Mau meeting features an update on the Our Care Our Choice Act in Hawaii after the first 2 years by five presenters. Presenters: Laura Arcibal, HI Dept of Health, Jodi Shaw, Kaiser Permanente, Michelle Cantillo, Hawaii Pacific Health, Erin Hamilton, Bristol Hospice, Caryn Ireland, Consultant with Compassion & Choices. Watch the recording with time code for each presenter at ‘show more’ in our YouTube channel.

March 2021: Innovations in Palliative Care

Our partners at Hawaii Care Choices are providing high quality palliative care in their rural community through a series of innovations in Hilo, Hawaii. Our Monthly Meeting in March 2021 is a talk-story session with Lani Weigert, Community Relations Manager and Cara Sadira, Community Liaison implementing the programs and experiencing first hand the real change happening. Watch the video Innovations in Palliative Care.

Making Decisions Regarding Mortuaries in Hawaii

Making decisions involving mortuaries is never an easy task. This list of current costs – from mortuaries on all islands in Hawai‘i – for cremation, burial, funeral services, caskets and cremation urns, can help to simplify the decision process.

‘Zoom Made Easy Page’ updated

Most of the time zoom works like a charm, but there are a million things that can go wrong (if you did not update to the latest version). Visit our Zoom Made Easy page, if you are looking for solutions. This page is updated frequently.

As of 3/18 the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) has made its resources available for free to the public. Please check out their tailor made: CAPC COVID-19 Response Resources toolklit including crisis communication and symptom management protocols for all clinicians, and guidance to help palliative care teams address high levels of volume and stress during a crisis.

What’s in the Toolkit

  • Communication Tips
  • Symptom Management Protocols
  • Palliative Care Team Tools
  • Telehealth
  • Patient and Family Support Resources from the CDC
  • Medicare COVID-19 Waivers
  • Federal COVID-19 Guidance
  • Setting-Specific Guidance
  • Role of Palliative Care

Since March 2020 we switched our Palliative Pupus to a virtual zoom meeting due to concerns about the spread of the Corona virus that can cause COVID-19.

Events from 2020 see more in the archive

Ongoing Current Events:

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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.

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