Palliative Care for Patients and Families

Quote: Living as well as you can as long as you can

What is Palliative Care?

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.

  • Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
  • Palliative care is based on the needs of the patient, not on the patient’s prognosis.
  • This care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC, 2019)

Palliative Care is sometimes referred to in Hawai‘i as Supportive or Concurrent Care. It provides strong support for individuals and their loved ones with a serious illness or condition, or have complex health issues. Comfort-directed services are focused to help people manage the symptoms and stresses of serious illness.

Palliative Care is not the same as hospice care, and individuals using this benefit can continue to receive curative treatments as desired. Contact your health plan for further details on this beneficial service.

  • Take the quiz on Answer the questions to determine whether palliative care might be right for you or someone close to you. Remember, you can receive palliative care at any point in your illness.
  • You can find answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about palliative care in plain English. (courtesy of

To learn more about palliative care through videos, articles, podcasts and real stories, visit

This video animation compares palliative care to the foundation of a bridge. While illness may weaken the foundation, the palliative care team provides a stronger layer of support.

A short green stripe of a ti leaf as a divider

A Caregiverʻs 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 the editing suggestions of our Kōkua Mau volunteer extraordinaire Rachel.)

6/12 Palliative Care – Extra Support for people with Cancer

Join Kōkua Mau for a special presentation as we demystify Palliative Care.

Recording available of this 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.


  • 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

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