Senator Rouson urges families to get educated about Suncoast Hospice

Senator Darryl Rouson shares his experience with hospice care. 

BY KAREN DAVIS-PRITCHETT, M.Ed. | Empath Health Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

For more than two years, I have been privileged to inform readers about the care and services Empath Health and its affiliate organizations provide to the community. I thought it might be meaningful for the next few articles to let those who have benefited from those services share their stories.

Today, I’d like to introduce State Senator Darryl Rouson, who represents District 16, including part of Pinellas County. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his personal experience with hospice and the importance of Suncoast Hospice and Empath Health services in Pinellas County communities.

Davis-Pritchett: How did you hear about hospice services for your loved one?

Rouson: The hospital personnel shared the information with me and my family. It is important to have open discussions with the doctors and those involved in the care of your family members.

Davis-Pritchett: Which hospice support was the most helpful for you and/or your family?

Rouson: The nursing visits and counseling services. It was reassuring to have nurses and other important medical staff there with us to answer our questions and to make sure that our loved one had all of the support that was needed. Then, the counseling services afterward to help us through our grief walk was so important and a service that continues to impact us to this day.

Davis-Pritchett: What do you want to share about your hospice experience with our communities?

Rouson: They were invaluable during the dying and grieving process. The information shared was right on point. It was comforting knowing that we had an entire team to walk right next to us, whether it was a CNA, volunteer, nurse or social worker. They all made sure that they included us in the care of our loved ones, and they were respectful of our wishes. You don’t need to be afraid or hesitate to call them; they are here to help all of us.

 Davis-Pritchett: What was something that you learned about Suncoast Hospice that you didn’t know until they started taking care of your loved one?

Rouson: The outreach done by Karen Davis-Pritchett is phenomenal. I have been impressed by the community engagement that Suncoast Hospice has been doing for years. You see them in our community providing support and educational presentations; they are at the church events or the health fairs at our rec centers. Karen and her team of Community Partnership Specialists are always a phone call away. They care about our community, and they truly understand the importance of health equity.

Davis-Pritchett: What would you like to share with families that may need Suncoast Hospice services?

Rouson: I would suggest that they communicate with Suncoast Hospice/Empath Health and strongly urge that they become aware of their services. There is fear and incorrect information out there about hospice care. But it is a wonderful and much-needed service.

Take the time to learn about Suncoast Hospice and ask questions so that you can make an informed decision. I also think that it is important to invite Karen and her team to your events, to your church, to civic groups or host something for your family, just get to know them. Suncoast Hospice can give a patient and family the needed support at such an important time. The resource is right here for us.

Karen Davis-Pritchett

 To learn more about Suncoast Hospice, visit or call (727) 467-7423.

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