March is Child Life Month and we want to acknowledge the many care professionals who support the special needs of children and families to bring them comfort.

People hope their children will be born healthy and live long, productive lives. Sometimes, children experience serious health conditions that take a toll on entire families. These experiences can be incredibly frightening and challenging for everyone involved; help is available.

Empath Health provides services to support those who are caring for children with advanced or complex illnesses, grieving children’s deaths or facing pregnancy losses. From the start of diagnosis or loss, our expert interdisciplinary teams and licensed counselors are dedicated to meeting the needs and wishes of all patients, family members and clients through specialized care, counseling and other support services. The goal is to ease the journey every step of the way with compassion and guidance to foster comfort, stability and healing.

Our Pediatric and Counseling Services include:

Empath Home Health supports families in managing the long-term advanced or complex diseases or conditions of homebound children. Services include skilled care, pain and symptom management, therapies, personal care, social work support, spiritual care, caregiver education and respite, sibling support, family retreats and trained volunteer support.

Suncoast Hospice supports families in caring for children with advanced illnesses nearing the final stages. Services include pain and symptom management, therapies, personal care, integrative services, emotional counseling, social work support, spiritual care, caregiver education and respite, sibling support, family retreats, trained volunteer support and bereavement 87507681support. While Suncoast Hospice provides all these services right in patients’ homes, there are also three care centers to offer refuge for those times when pain and symptoms become too severe or acute to effectively manage or resolve at home.

• Empath Health Perinatal Loss Program supports mothers and families who may experience or have experienced a pregnancy loss, stillbirth or death of a baby shortly after birth. Services include coordination of care at the hospital, spiritual care, social work support, grief support, assistance with decision making, planning and memory-making activities, doula volunteer assistance (birth companions who help throughout the birth process) and other trained volunteer support.

• Empath Health Community Counseling supports all children and families in the community needing assistance in coping with a serious illness or grieving a death. Services include individual and family sessions and specialized support groups. Special focus is on sudden traumatic losses, such as suicides, accidents, overdoses and homicides. These fee-based services are provided at Empath Health’s three community service centers.

It’s never too soon to seek help and comfort. Call us anytime at 727–467–7423 or visit us online to request services.

We always welcome additional volunteers to support our mission. To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, join an upcoming volunteer training.