Susan Hensley’s Story

Susan Hensley is a 65 year old native of Washington, DC. Susan describes herself as easy-going person who loves people and is known by all who spend time with her, for her kindness and good sense of humor. Susan is a divorcée who raised four children and two God-children as a single mom. In addition to her biological children, Susan met and became close with her dear friend, Theresa, who she refers to as “an adopted daughter” and the two have leaned heavily on one another for support throughout the past six years. Susan was residing in Gaithersburg, Maryland in 2015 when in March of that year she learned of the tragic loss of her beloved son. Susan was devastated by the fact that she was unable to be with her son during his passing and said, “I just gave up for a while.” Her health failed until she found herself in the care of Northampton Manor in Frederick, Maryland. While at Northampton, Susan’s health slowly improved and with the help and encouragement of the physical and occupational therapy departments, she worked hard to regain her strength and independence. Susan had lost all her possessions shortly after being admitted to Northampton Manor. She had only a few articles of clothing and a few small personal belongings left.  She felt she had lost everything. Her health was improving, and Susan was motivated to return to the community and live on her own, but she felt “stuck” in the nursing home. Her friend, Theresa, remained in contact with her, but with few other informal supports and no resources, Susan turned to the Community Options Waiver. She hoped the waiver would be able to assist her with her goal to move out on her own once again. In April of 2017, a referral was made by the Social Services Department of Northampton Manor. Susan was assigned to a Supports Planning Agency serving in Frederick County, but felt that there was a Susan Hensley’s Story lack of communication with her assigned Supports Planner at that time. She did not hear from her Supports Planner very often and did not feel that she was getting the help she needed to navigate the process. Susan had heard of the good reputation of the Supports Planning Services of Service Coordination and made a change to SCI in September of 2017.

Once assigned, Supports Planner Angie Brambley was able to help Susan better understand the process of the Community Options Waiver and offered support to help Susan locate all the resources needed to ensure a safe transition. Susan shared that her previous landlord had thrown away all her things, including her birth certificate. The first step would be to help Susan obtain personal documentation to have the necessary items needed to secure housing. Once these documents were obtained, Angie assisted Susan to apply for a Money Follow the Person Bridge Subsidy through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Applicants for this Subsidy must be 18 years or older and transitioning out of a nursing facility. It is a tenant based rental assistance program similar to a Housing Choice Voucher and will offer rental assistance for 3 years following transition. After 3 years, it will transition into a housing voucher. There are a limited number of Bridge Subsidies available, so Susan was very pleased to be able to obtain one. Angie worked closely with the DHCD as well as Susan to locate an available apartment unit in the part of town where she wishes to love that met all her needs.  It just so happened that this apartment was just a few doors down from Susan’s friend, Theresa. Susan felt that this was “divine intervention” to be so close to one of her biggest supporters. The Community Options Waiver may allow participants to access up to $3000 of transition funds to obtain housing and purchase necessary household items and furniture, as well as other expenses. Susan was able to use these funds for her application fee, move in costs, household items such as dishes and bedding, and was even approved to use funds to pay for her first year of renter’s insurance which was required by the new apartment prior to moving in.

Despite a slight set back when Susan became ill the week of her scheduled discharge, Susan was able to bounce back as she had so many times in her life and move forward with her goal to leave Northampton. She transitioned to her new home,  which she loves, on January 17, 2019. Her personal emergency response system (PERS) was delivered that same day and this will allow her to call for help in the case of an emergency. She is very pleased with her caregiver from Home Centris who comes on a regular basis to help with ADLs and IADLs. Susan is currently in the process of requesting the remainder of her transition funds to obtain a few final pieces of furniture. Participants of the Community Options waiver have 60 days following discharge to request these funds. Susan said her apartment is “starting to feel like home.” Supports Planner, Angie Brambley said, “I can tell that Susan is finally where she is meant to be. You can hear the joy in her voice. I can tell that her stress has been lifted.” Angie plans to remain in close contact with Susan and will continue to offer support to help her live well at home for many, many years to come. Susan said, “I want to thank Service Coordination for helping me get back my independence. I feel great! Angie has been the greatest! I have been blessed.”