Helping America's Most Vulnerable

North Shore Support Program Helps Resident Facing Health Crises

When Shelly first came to our North Shore office, she was newly diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis C. She was very sick and tired, as she had been acting as the sole caregiver for her ex-husband. He was experiencing the final stages of AIDS, with kidney failure, dialysis three times per week and serious problems with mobility and activities of daily living.

Shelly, with a master's degree in social work, found herself in need of support from others. She reached out to the Health Services Support program of Volunteers of America, seeking assistance with medical care. She was assigned a case manager who helped her get an appointment for her HIV and hepatitis C. The next step was to help Shelly come to terms with her illness.

While her family was aware of her ex-husband’s diagnosis, she did not want to burden her family with her own. Shelly’s case manager became her only support through several medical procedures and treatments. To fill in the gaps in her circumstances, she was also referred to a psychiatrist for anxiety and depression and a local HIV-support group. Shelly says these monthly group meetings were key to providing the additional support she needed.

Recently, her ex-husband passed away, and Shelly feels like she can now concentrate on her own well-being. Through her own efforts and the support of her doctors and the Health Services Support case management staff, she is ready to get a part-time job. Shelly now feels like she is a productive member of society once again and is enjoying getting out of her house and being active within her community.