Hospice Hawai`i Moloka`i

Like most hospice organizations in America, the hospice program on Moloka`i began through the compassion and care of dedicated community members. Tracing its roots to the Compassionate Care Ohana, this group of kind persons began meeting in the late 1990s, and reaching out to visit and befriend the elderly and homebound. After receiving hospice trainings in 1997 and 1998, the Compassionate Care Ohana approached Hospice Hawai`i, requesting that they explore the possibility of developing a hospice program on Moloka`i. Under the direction of Dr. Stephen Kula, the President of Hospice Hawai`i, development began to take place. Physicians, nurses, social workers, cleargy and dedicated volunteers formed that core group. In 1998, Hospice Hawai`i received permission from the State Health Planning and Development Agency to create a branch program. Permission was obtained from Medicare in early 1999 to “bend the rules” and create this branch program on another island. On March 15, 1999 we obtained final permission from Medicare to bring the services of a Medicare Certified Hospice to the island of Moloka`i.

By the summer of 1999, Dr. Emmett Aluli had signed on as the Medical Director. Joining him were Donna Carvalho, RN and Punalei Stack, MSW. Father Jim Callahan served as the first Chaplain. With the support of Moloka`i General Hospital and Moloka`i Drugs, we began to see patients that summer. Supervision and support of the team came from Ken Zeri, RN on Oahu. Because of Hospice Hawai`i’s relationship with the Queen’s Medical Center, patients could be seen on Oahu by Hospice Hawai`i staff and later go home to Moloka`i for care.

Since that time, dozens of persons and their families have been cared for by a dedicated hospice team. Today, the team is comprised of a core of about a dozen volunteers, in addition to the professional staff , which includes Dr. Sandra Brazzel, Donna Carvalho, RN, Bertie Shepperson, RN, Cathy Karras, LPN, CHPLPN, Cindy Ledesma, HHA, Laura Lishman-Raposa, HHA, and Chaplain Lynette Schaefer.

True to its founding mission, this compassionate group of Molokai`i residents continues to reach out to those in need, serving selflessly and being available at all hours to assure that the residents of Moloka`i may be in their own homes for the remainder of their lives, and to be as comfortable as possible.

To refer someone you know to hospice care, call 553-4310.


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