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.)

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.


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.

The tragedy on Maui still unfolds. We are all looking for ways to support and help our friends and colleagues on the ground for the long haul. 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. More


2024 as a nice design

What’s New in 2024?

June 27

9 -10:30 am note the earlier time for our speaker in Texas

Great news: Dr. Jared Rubenstein, a pediatric palliative care doctor and medical educator, will be our guest speaker at the Kōkua Mau meeting in June. Dr. Rubenstein is a wonderfully engaging speaker who is using innovative approaches to helping people communicate about challenging topics in healthcare. He is passionate about teaching all healthcare workers how to incorporate palliative care into their work, and increasing public education about palliative care. He was also recently named by AAHPM as an Emerging Leader in Hospice and Palliative Care.  More and registration info.

May 2024

CMS Approves Hawai’i MedQuest Palliative Care Program – First State in the USA

On May 7, 2024, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a new State Plan Amendment (SPA) in Hawai’i to cover community-based palliative care services making Hawaiʻi the first state in the nation to do so!! More

5/15 @ 5:15 Palliative Pupus

Palliative Pupus is a unique opportunity to hear about a palliative care case. It is good for palliative care practitioners to learn and increase skills. More

April 25, 2024 Kōkua Mau Meeting

How is Hawaii doing in Serious Illness Care? How do we compare with other states?
Please watch the video of a presentation on the ACT Index by Torrie Fields, presenting the latest data for Hawaiʻi, allowing us to track our progress and compare with other states. More

March 2024

Kōkua Mau Monthly Meeting March 28: Presentations by the Collective for Radical Death Studies and Association for Death Education and Counseling (watch video) who approached us to learn more about Hawaiʻi and our unique approach to death, grief, loss and remembrance.

We also heard from Noelani Ahia from Maui with the topic Grieving Lahaina: Past and Present. The intimate connection between ‘āina and Kānaka and the space needed to heal. Watch the video.

March 20 was our first hybrid Palliative Pupus , in person and on zoom.


Legislative agenda for the 2024 session

We are almost there!

SB2529 has been passed by the Legislature and is now on the way to the Governor for his signature. We have one last opportunity to weigh in and participate in the legislative process.

Follow this link to provide a comment on legislation on the Governor’s page. You will see that there is space for a brief message for our support for SB2529. Since there has been no opposition, we don’t think that a huge push is needed nor uploading of documents. But please weigh in.

Thank you to everybody who submitted testimony for SB2529 SD1

  • The bill was passed by the House and Senate on May 1!
  • Our Bill is moving and just passed the conference committee on Tuesday, April 23.
  • SB2529 SD1, was heard and passed as is by the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC) and House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs on March 21.
  • SB2529 SD1 was heard and passed as is by the House Committee on Health & Homelessness (HLT) on March 15.
  • SB2529 SD1 was heard and passed “as is” by the Committee on Judiciary (JDC) on Feb 16.
  • SB2529 was heard by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Jan 31. It passed! More

Highlights from 2023

Two new videos about our work:

September 2023 at our Kōkua Mau meeting we will heard 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.

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


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 provided up-to-date information, webinars, guidelines and materials helpful for our members and supporters.


Events from 2022, 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