The Center on Aging at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Receives $524,964 to Improve End-of-Life Care

University of Hawaiʻi
Shawn Nakamoto, (808) 956-9095
Director of Public Relations
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Feb 28, 2002

The Center on Aging at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa has been awarded over $524,964 to continue its ongoing efforts to improve end-of-life care. Two new grant programs recognize the commitment of community caregivers, health care professionals, and administrators to change the way we care for the dying.

Although most deaths in Hawaii occur in institutions, many people would prefer to die at home. To help ease the burden on caregivers, "End-of-Life Care for Hawaii's Ohana (ECHO)" received 3 years of funding from the Administration on Aging's National Family Caregiver Support Program ($394,277). Together with its community partners (Hawaii Meals on Wheels, Honolulu Gerontology Program, Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, Maluhia Foundation, and Project Dana), the Center on Aging will develop and offer culturally sensitive end-of-life care information and training to support families who care for their older loved ones at home. Regardless of the place one dies, every person deserves high-quality care and the support of loved ones. The HMSA Foundation agrees and has continued its support of the Center's commitment to excellence in end-of-life care by awarding $130,687 for a 3-year project called "Appropriate (End-of-Life) Care of Residents in Nursing Homes (ACORN)." The project will work cooperatively with eight long-term care facilities on Oahu and Maui in an effort to increase the knowledge, skills, and comfort of those who provide care to dying patients.

"If we are going to improve the environments in which we die, we must all play a part, for death will ultimately affect us all," says Ana Zir, coordinator of the new projects.

"America is a death-denying society. But despite all our technology, people will still die. People deserve excellent care at the end of life, which means that their pain is controlled and dignity is preserved," says Dr. Kathryn Braun, director of the Center on Aging and principal investigator for the grants. "Caregivers need help with grieving too, which is a natural response to losing a loved one."

The ECHO and ACORN projects build on the Center's Complete Life Course: Care of the Dying and Care of the Bereaved, funded by the HMSA foundation and the Project Death on America (SOROS Foundation). It is endorsed by Kokua Mau, Hawaii‘s state partnership to improve end-of-life care.

"Since I began offering the course in 2000, more than 350 individuals affiliated with more than 25 churches and social service agencies have taken the course," noted Zir. "We've received rave reviews from participants, and have been approached by groups across the country to share our materials."