No one plans to have an accident or illness that sends you to the hospital.

But Kauai geriatrician and palliative care physician Dr. Laurel Coleman said the time for families to talk about hospital care decisions, caregiving and post-hospital care is before a serious illness or injury happens.

Coleman is the featured speaker at a free AARP Hawaii workshop in Kapaa on June 3rd.

“Hospitalization is hardly ever anticipated and rarely planned for and yet it is very common as we age to need hospitalization,” Coleman said. “I think it’s valuable to talk and plan as much as we can so that we feel more capable and prepared when facing important health decisions.”

Caregivers, people who are aging and planning for their future, and people whose loved ones are aging and who may become caregivers will benefit from the workshop.

Participants will come away from the workshop with practical tips on what you can do now to prepare for the challenges of aging, hospitalization and possible disability.

Attendees will also learn about their rights under a new law that will help the 154,000 caregivers in Hawaii when a loved one goes into the hospital.

The CARE Act (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable) goes into effect on July 1. The law requires that hospitals:

  • Provide the patient with the opportunity to designate family caregiver on their medical record.
  • Notify the caregiver before a patient is discharged or transferred to another facility.
  • Provide instructions on medical tasks a caregiver will need to perform after a patient is discharged.

The caregiving workshop will be at the Marriot Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach from 9:30 a.m. until noon on Saturday, June 3rd. To register call 1-877-926-8300 or go online to

AARP Hawaii is also giving out wallet cards to remind caregivers about their rights under the CARE Act. The cards can be placed in your wallet or the wallet of a loved one next to your insurance cards so you can have important information about the new law available when you need it most.

The cards will be available at the workshop or can be obtained online at or by calling 1-877-333-5885.

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