Keeping Our Elders Comfortable at Home


Nā Pu‘uwai, the Native Hawaiian Health Care System that serves Lāna‘i and Molokai, including Kalaupapa, is launching a pilot program to help kūpuna remain healthy in their own homes. 

Called KAPAKūpuna Aging in Place with Assistance—this locally adapted program is modelled after an aging-in-place program developed by practitioners at Johns Hopkins University called CAPABLE.  The program partners nurses, occupational therapists and home repair persons to address the needs of elders within their homes.  It has proven effective in preventing falls, improving mobility, and raising other health outcomes, while decreasing medical costs among older adults.

CAPABLE is an evidence-based program approved by the National Council on Aging that has been tested in multiple small and large trials, each showing that participants enjoy better function with lower hospital admission rates and decreased nursing home admission rates.
In-home care is a lower-cost alternative to being admitted to the hospital or skilled nursing facility.  For kūpuna on Lāna‘i and Molokai, aging-in-place programs can keep them well and at home, without moving them to off-island care facilities.

Nā Pu‘uwai serves a total of 2,672 individuals who are age 65 or older through its various programs on the two islands.

“We are committed to the community.  Our foremost concern is the health and wellbeing of these individuals and their families, and to make sure they receive the care they need,” said Kamahanahōkūlani Farrar, executive director of Nā Pu‘uwai. “As we transition to a new program, we are committed to remaining true to our mission to improve the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of Native Hawaiians and their ‘ohana.”

The program is designed to serve those who are older adults age 50 and above but will serve those of any age who may have difficulty performing Activities of Daily Living such as bathing, dressing, grooming; and those who do not have dementia or only have mild cognitive impairment.

"Think of an old-style kapa that creates a cape over the kupuna that we love," says Farrar, explaining the kaona of the program's name.  "It honors and protects them."

Training KAPA staff will begin in October 2018.

More information about the services and programs offered by Nā Pu‘uwai can be found here.  Learn more about all five Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems on the map here.

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AUDIO. Kupuna Care Program…, Hawaii Public Radio, September 5, 2018.  Hear this interview with Nā Pu‘uwai executive director Kamahanahōkūlani Farrar.

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