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NEDHSA assists Grandfather in protecting and providing for his family with DD services

March 24, 2023

MONROE, LA – Clint Thorton is a retired ceramic tile contractor, retired student teacher, and Director of Music at his church. After losing his wife to Huntington’s Disease, Thornton has spent his life as a single father of four children and, in recent years, a dedicated and compassionate grandfather who is the sole caretaker of his 23-year-old grandson Jordan Wilcockson.

Wilcockson was born handsome, healthy, and happy. However, the environment and conditions he was born into were incredibly unfit, causing extreme concern for Thorton. Wilcockson’s mother, Thorton’s daughter, has Huntington’s Disease, and in addition, Wilcockson grew up in a domestically abusive home. So much so that at two months old, Wilcockson became a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Victims of shaken baby syndrome vary with the severity of the injury. However, many cases are fatal or lead to severe neurological deficits such as Cerebral palsy, paralysis, vision loss or blindness, intellectual disability, epilepsy, or seizures. Parenthood is considered the biggest challenge in one’s life.

“It is hard for a single parent to raise children,” Thorton said. “But harder for a child in my grandson’s condition.”

Thorton did not let the foreseen struggles, complications, and financial strain deter him from protecting and providing for his grandson. The family’s relationship with Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) began when Thorton received custody of Wilcockson when he was eight months old. Wilcockson’s diagnosis requires around-the-clock total care. Thorton loves his grandson and will do all he can, but there is only so much a grandfather can do alone; hence, NEDHSA services and resources were made available through Chasity Talley, Registered Nurse (RN).

“Mr. Thornton exemplifies what being an advocate for someone unable to speak for themselves genuinely means,” Talley said. “It is always such a pleasure to work with Mr. Clint Thornton.”

Talley, a NEDHSA Medical Certifications Specialist, works closely with the family to ensure needs are met by identifying areas of deficiencies, gaps in supplies, and any hindrances from comfortable daily living that allow Jordan to continue living in his family home.

“Through talking on the phone, in-person visits, and communicating via email, Mr. Thornton and I work together to make sure Jordan is getting the services he needs,” Talley said.

As a result of his ongoing and significant needs, Wilcockson was ruled eligible for the New Opportunities Waiver (NOW), which utilizes Medicaid funds to pay for much of his care. Through the NOW, the family can utilize private provider agencies or participate in Self-Direction Services for nursing services, individualized and family support services, environmental accessibility adaptations and any of the many other services available through this Waiver program.

At one point, Wilcockson’s care went from a combined 24 hours of nurse and personal care assistance staffing to four days a week, a total of 10 hours after moving from the city to a rural region. However, Talley was able to work with his support team and obtain approval for his personal care assistance back to 24 hours, lifting a significant burden on the family’s shoulders.

With the services and resources provided through NEDHSA, Thorton has hired and trained the direct support professionals to meet his grandson’s needs.  The NOW also assists with funding for environmental modifications inside and outside of their home. With NEDHSA assistance in coordination and utilization of various funding sources including the NOW and Family Support funds, Wilcockson acquired a new wheelchair and personal care items when Medicaid funding no longer paid for those items.  

“I know that neither my grandson nor I would have survived without 24-hour care, supplies, and God’s grace through it all,” Thorton said.

“Regardless of what services are needed all hands are on deck to assist in making sure that Jordan gets the services and care he needs to live his best life,” Talley said.

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For more information, contact Public Information Director DeRon Talley by emailing deron.talley@la.gov.

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Picture of Dr. Monteic A. Sizer
Dr. Monteic A. Sizer

Dr. Monteic A. Sizer serves as Executive Director of Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (Northeast Delta HSA). He joined the organization in May 2013 as its first Executive Director. He is uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of citizens located in the twelve Northeast Delta HSA parishes he represents because he exemplifies how people can meet their greatest human potential based on accountability, integrity and a willingness to engage in their own lives.

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