Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

Living as well as you can for as long as you can”  Dr. Steve Pantilat

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 as Supportive or Concurrent Care, and provides strong support for individuals and their loved ones with a serious illness or condition, or have complex health issues. It is not the same as hospice care, and individuals using this benefit can continue to receive curative treatments as desired. Comfort-directed services are focused to help people manage the symptoms and stresses of serious illness. Contact your health plan for further details on this beneficial service.

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.

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

Where to find Palliative Care in Hawai‘i

Hospital-based (Inpatient) Palliative Care

  • Castle Medical Center: 808-263-5253
  • Kaiser Permanente: 808-432-7100
  • Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children (ask for palliative care consult): 808-983-6000
  • Maui Memorial Medical Center, Palliative Care Coordinator: 808-442-5801
  • North Hawaii Community Hospital: 808-885-4444
  • Pali Momi Medical Center (ask for palliative care consult): 808-486-6000
  • Straub Medical Center: (ask for palliative care consult): 808-522-4000
  • The Queen’s Medical Center: 808-691-4726
  • Wilcox Medical Center (ask for palliative care consult): 808-245-1100

Out-patient palliative care – ask for a consult from your doctor

  • Queen’s Medical Center Supportive Oncology Clinic
  • Straub and Pali Momi Oncology, Kapiolani  Pediatric

Community-Based Palliative Care

Which Insurance plans have a community-based palliative care benefit?

Currently, three insurers offer a community-based palliative care benefit in Hawai‘i:
UHA, HMSA, and the VA. As this list of insurer’s grows, we will update this information accordingly. 

UHA’s benefit is called ‘Concurrent Care toll free 1-800-458-4600 #300 or 808-532-4006.

HMSA’s palliative care benefit is ‘Supportive Care‘. HMSA Case Management Program: toll free 1-844-378-9997 or 808-948-5377. The goal for this benefit is to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. Typical goals of care would be to prevent or treat symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment.

Under the supportive care benefit, an HMSA member receives comprehensive clinical and psycho-social support while maintaining their usual care. Typically, supportive care includes skilled nursing, case management, psycho-social support, personal care aid and spiritual support. Additionally, most durable medical equipment and comfort medications related to the supportive care diagnosis are covered. Supportive care providers are available by phone or in-person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

VA PIHCS ‘Concurrent Care is for registered Veterans with advanced illness such as cancer, heart failure or advanced lung disease to be able to access by phone or in their home, medical care focused on alleviating symptoms such as pain, nausea, or anxiety, 24 hours a day, while still receiving treatments. Under this program, the Veteran may continue to visit their doctors, receive treatments such as chemotherapy and visit the emergency room if needed. The actual hands-on care is provided by community hospice agencies, statewide. If interested, call your VA provider to request a palliative care consult.

Kaiser Permanente members please call for the latest information: 808-432-8046

Palliative Care Presentation on our YouTube Channel

2021 June: Hawaii Palliative Care Virtual Summit 2021 presenting MedQUEST Proposed Palliative Care Benefit

MedQuest (Hawaii Medicaid) presented their proposed palliative care benefit, a first-of-its kind in the country at our Hawaii Palliative Care Virtual Summit in June of 2021.

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. More information and video recording

2021 March: 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 on our YouTube channel.

Mapping Palliative Care in Hawai‘i

In order to map palliative care across Hawaii, a survey was conducted from January to July 2020 to determine the availability of in-patient, out-patient and community based options. Read the report from July 2020

2020 April 25 Hawaii State Palliative Care Summit

Our very successful 2020 Palliative Care Summit brought key stakeholders together for an overview of the current state of palliative care in Hawai‘i. More and video recording.

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