It’s 2023 and we are excited to introduce our new community nonprofit: Kokua Mau. Each year Aloha Green chooses to spotlight several nonprofits from all over Hawai’i (and beyond) in hopes that it will start healthy conversations around important subjects that can improve us and our community.
2023 is a brand-new year and every year we reflect on what we would like to improve. What we would like to do in 2023 is give our Hawai’i community the knowledge and resources to be comfortable throughout their life. The Hawaiian translation for Kokua Mau’s is “continuous care”.
This nonprofit was born out of the need for trusted resources regarding the best possible care now and through the end of life for the people of Hawai’i.
Kokua Mau is a local nonprofit that has been helping Hawai’i since 1999. Some of the up to date resources it provides is ACP Advance Care Planning (ACP), Palliative Care, and Hospice. We’ll go over all this later as we understand how daunting those words can sound.
In a nutshell, every person deserves to be able to determine what type of medical care they receive in old age or in case of an unfortunate incidence. Kokua Mau prepares every person for when the time comes so there won’t be a guessing game (or drama) when that person is not able to speak for themselves. It helps with both planning and preparing for the future, and also provides support (for the patient and the caregivers) when immediate help is needed. Think of them as a trusted resource to ensure that every individual has the right to quality care all the way through the end of life
Let’s talk about Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is something that everyone 18+ can do today. It can tremendously help with healthcare decision making. ACP requires filling an Advance Directive (AD) &/or POLST, both official documents that honor your preferences throughout life. For ACP, you do not need to hire any expensive lawyers or doctors, or even professionals to make these health decisions. It is also never set in stone, and the conversations around how you want your future healthcare to look like can change, as and when required
Why is an Advance Healthcare Directive Important? Here is the link for you to listen to Kokua Mau’s interview with Howard Lee – President and CEO of UHA Health Insurance on why an Advance Care Directive is so important .
How do I start? Everyone needs to begin somewhere. For starters, Kokua Mau has created the Conversation Starter Guide – this guide will help you and your loved ones start a conversation about what matters to you in your healthcare. This thorough workbooks helps to create the foundation of a care plan that is right for you at this time. Some conversations might feel too heavy or too early to talk about, but it is never too early to start preparing. At the end of this guide, you will feel more prepared to make decisions for your Advance Directive.
What is an Advance Directive? An Advance Directive (AD) is a written statement about your future medical care. It is a gift to family members and friends so that they won’t have to guess what you want if you no longer can speak for yourself.” Advance Directives are free. A reliable up to date version of Hawaii’s AD can be found here. You need two (qualified) witnesses to make the AD valid.
Now is the time to do it!
Who Else Can Kokua Mau Help? Besides planning for your future healthcare, Kokua Mau also helps people who might need help right now. Some of the other topics we plan on addressing this next half a year are:
POLST A POLST is a form that contains medical orders that specify the type of care you would like in the event of a medical emergency. Not everyone needs a POLST. POLST is intended for people with serious illness and/or the medically frail at any age.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Hospice is specialized care that focuses on the needs of the person and loved ones in the last weeks and months of life and is seen as the best care possible for those at the end of life.
Why Kokua Mau?
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 who are facing a serious illness can live in the place of their choice, with relief from pain and suffering and according to their values, beliefs and traditions.
We love our AGApoth community, because in the end, we are all human. We will all face good times and hard times. We also all have people (family or friends) who we love in our lives and who we want to protect and honor. After meeting Kokua Mau, we truly believe that the best way to live your life is to prepare for the best quality of life. With local resources that we can trust, we deserve that chance!
If you have any questions about Kokua Mau’s movement to improve care, we HIGHLY recommend checking out their website at kokuamau.org. There is a great ton of Hawai’i focused information available on any of the subjects we’ve touched upon. We hope you will join us as we continue the conversation around advance care planning through Kokua Mau.
Kokua Mau depends on donations from the community to carry on with their work, and they are Aloha Green’s current nonprofit community donation recipient! If you have the means to donate to this special organization, we have donation boxes set up at every POS station at Aloha Green. At the end of the donation period, Aloha Green will match all community donations to Kokua Mau!