May 30, 2019

Nonprofit improving kupuna care on Lanai

If you frequent the Lanai Senior Center, chances are you’ve received a free blood pressure test from a Lanai Kinaole nurse. Offering complimentary health screenings in a convenient, community-centered location is just one way the new nonprofit is serving the island’s kupuna.

Program Administrator Val Janikowski launched Lanai Kinaole in December 2018. The team, comprised of nurses, nursing assistants and volunteers, delivers senior-focused health care to the Lanai community and offers those services where it is needed.

Some of those services are provided at the Lanai Kinaole office, conveniently located at 617 Ilima Avenue, just a block from Dole Park. Clients are seen for chronic disease case management, health education and monitoring. Because continuity of care is important, Lanai Kinaole nurses report results and information to the patients’ primary care providers and often collaborate with other health care partners, such as Hospice Hawaii – Lanai.

Health care right at home

Lanai Kinaole also provides in-home health services to about 15 patients. Janikowski explains that supporting clients in their home environments is vital to increasing the quality of care.

“It allows us to get a well-rounded picture of the individual’s needs, develop a relationship and build trust so that we can better serve them,” said Janikowski.

There are two types of services offered in-home by the nonprofit:

  1. Home Care – Registered Nurses (RN) or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) provide kupuna with support for daily activities such as cooking and other light housekeeping, errands and personal care.
  2. Home Health – RNs offer skilled nursing and assist with specific medical needs by administering medication, providing specialty wound care and offering other services that require skilled nursing support.

For some seniors, the option to receive at-home care is a preference, but for others, it is a critical need. Bedbound patients are not easily transferred to receive treatment, even at the clinics in town, so offering health services at home is not only more convenient but safer as well.

But Lanai Kinaole’s home services also benefit seniors who are still mobile by saving them time and money. In the past, if long-term treatment was needed; for example, six weeks of IV antibiotics, a patient would have to travel to Oahu and stay in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. Not only does Lanai Kinaole help seniors save money but it also allows them to receive treatment on-island near the support of family and friends.

Powered by volunteers

With their range of services, it may come as a surprise that Lanai Kinaole is run mostly by a team of dedicated volunteers – from nurses and nursing assistants to the administrative staff.

“We’re doing it because we love it and we’re doing it because there’s a need in the community,” explained Janikowski. “I know it sounds kind of corny, but we honestly feel like it’s a blessing to be able to do what we do.”

The program is seeking more funding so that they can expand services and help more seniors in the Lanai community. Lanai Kinaole is also looking for more volunteers to help provide much-needed services to kupuna. From office administration to picking up donation jars, there’s plenty of ways to get involved even if you don’t have a medical background.

Since the nonprofit’s inception, Janikowski says the response from the community has been positive. “From the bottom of my heart, I am so thankful for the support of the staff and the community. We are just so grateful and humbled.”

If you’re interested in volunteering with Lanai Kinaole or would like to learn more about their services, visit their website or call (808) 565-8001. You can also stop by the office at 617 Ilima Avenue between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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