“She adjusted quickly and was very excited about being more independent and was actually disappointed that her staff was still there at night.”
At the first mention of Night Owl Supports, we had many, many questions but after getting thoughtful and satisfactory answers, we began to introduce the idea to Jennifer. At first, Jennifer was not sure and apprehensive about giving up her staff. After all she was 39 and had never spent a night by herself. Once she understood how it would work, she began to feel more comfortable and receptive to the idea. We also wanted to introduce it gradually and see how she did.
For the first couple of weeks, she had staff 2 nights, then Night Owl one night. She adjusted quickly and was very excited about being more independent and was actually disappointed that her staff was still there at night. Jennifer’s staff’s hours changed but NOSS was able to maintain all of the staff in her home with different hours.Jennifer has a communication handicap which always made us reluctant to rely solely on a pager system. We were always concerned about someone answering the pager understanding her emergency. With Night Owl, we were assured that if she called, they would send the responder within 10 minutes no matter what. We also knew that with the alarms on the doors and windows that if anyone tried to get in her apartment, they would be alerted and follow-up.Jennifer adjusted quickly to the Night Owl system and was very proud of her new independence. In fact, an unexpected bonus was that she was sleeping better without staff in the house and commented after the first night alone to her Mom that “…it was just so relaxing.” She even invited the neighbors over for coffee on that first morning. This was her way of telling us, “I can do this!” In the first year, Night Owl responded to a power outage; once she was sick and called them; and once she accidentally set off the alarm. I feel we have peace of mind with Night Owl system. They do practices on a quarterly basis; make sure she knows who the responders are; they know if anyone opens the door and report it to the agency. They also know when the staff leaves in the evening. As with anything, there are some possible risks but we feel that Jennifer deserves to have more independence; Night Owl saves the agency and state many dollars; and we feel there is minimal risks to her safety.
“we had to give our son the chance to really move FORWARD with his life rather than having his world more and more circumscribed and out of his control.”
Our family’s association with Night Owl Support System came about through difficult circumstances. Our son, who has autism, had been living in a group home setting through a very well established provider for the past five years. He was enjoying his life in his “own” community about a half hour from our home ever since he completed high school at twenty one. He had both paid and volunteer opportunities in the community, and had good relationships with his room-mates and staff. Unfortunately, budget cuts started to have a significant impact on all service providers several years after he left home. He had to leave a lovely duplex with a fantastic staff – the house had to close and all the residents and staff dispersed. He moved into another home, but within eighteen months that too had to close. Less than a year later, we found that his funding would not even allow him to remain in the third group home he lived in. Our choices were bleak. He could come home, and give up the carefully constructed social, work, and volunteer opportunities he had, or we could try to find another group home with another agency in a market where the whole concept of “group homes” was going away. There were really no good choices – a very discouraging time.
But then, a choice…would we consider him participating in a new model for support, Community Supported Living? Our agency was exploring this new concept in his community. We spent a lot of time learning how different this model was from what we had come to see as the “normal” progression for a young adult with developmental disability( but also with many gifts and strengths) – going from home to “independence” in a group home. Community Supported Living sounded wonderful in so many ways, but was terrifying too. It took some time for us to decide that, despite our fears and concerns, we had to give our son the chance to really move FORWARD with his life rather than having his world more and more circumscribed and out of his control. We hoped that he had the skill set to make this transition, with our support and the support of the agency that has helped him for years.
Two roadblocks stood out – he is verbal but does not have a lot of expressive language. Would he be able to reach out to others if he was alone? The other roadblock was financial – could he afford to move into his own apartment and support himself? Through much consultation and discovery, we and the agency came to see Night Owl Support System could offer monitored overnight support as a significant part of our sons new paradigm. He would have a combination of paid and volunteer/community supports during the day, and at night, he would have a monitor that would inform the NOSS professionals on duty when he was having a situation that required input from them. We felt his night-time habits were very good, but there were times, due to illness, a fire alarm, etc, when he needed contact with others, even if he was not the one reaching out. NOSS designed a system that would help support our son through potential difficulties.
We had chosen an apartment in a Federal rent-controlled setting as the best choice for him in terms of safe setting and prudent use of his limited financial resources. The catch? Only our son could “live” in the apartment overnight. Twenty four hour support would not be possible except in exceptional circumstances. Again, the choice of Night Owl monitoring allowed our family to make a very good housing choice for our son, knowing that he was being supported even when a person was not on duty in his apartment.
Our family has benefited tremendously from our association with the Night Owl Support System. As a matter of fact, our sons current living arrangement in the community would not be possible but for the cost savings Night Owl was able to provide. He loves his new apartment and his new life. He is building new skills every day. We have seen aspects of his personality that we never thought possible. It is thrilling. We know there will still be challenges as we go forward, but we feel our son has a very strong base of support. Our hope is that our son can continue to grow and mature in his “home” – that he will not be shuttled about as his supports disperse. Night Owl has been an integral part of the model that makes this opportunity possible. We are very grateful.
“The idea of using NOSS services was presented at our stakeholders meeting a month ago, and everyone there agreed the savings are staggering not to mention the improvement of all 4 individual’s quality of life since moving. “
They are all very happy and say they never want to live with 24-hour supervision again. NOSS has given them independence that has increased their freedom of choice in so many ways. For example they can choose what they want for supper, what or where they want to go in the community or if they would rather stay home since they don’t have to do everything as a group. It has increased vocational opportunities for one individual due to his new location and flexibility with his schedule in the evenings. All four guys have blossomed socially with improved communication and increased indication of preference in all areas of their life. I would say the only struggle with the freedom of choice comes the freedom to call in sick when they may not truly be ill. But with that comes natural consequences of losing work for frequent call ins etc. Any bump in the road we have come across has worked itself so far, and the guys and their teams couldn’t be happier with NOSS.
All four guys have blossomed socially with improved communication and increased indication of preference in all areas of their life. (Case Manager, Iowa)
“We would highly recommend Night Owl Support Systems to anyone!”
We were presented with a request from a young man and his family to have non-intrusive but safe overnight supports. The traditional option of putting a staff person in the home for overnights couldn’t be an option for a number of reasons, including the person not wanting someone staying overnight all of the time. Options were researched and Night Owl Support Systems seemed to be the answer. When they were contacted, the response was very timely and within weeks, the system was installed and up and running. For well over a year, the Night Owl Support Systems has been a true success for this person. He is able to talk to someone anytime if he needs help. Night Owl staff are able to check in when there is an alert and the first responders have been able to mitigate any overnight need without having staff spend the night! Using Night Owl Support Systems has provided the opportunity for this young person to be able to have the maximum level of independence, while family and team members are assured by the very reliable safety net that is in place. Every day since beginning the services, we have received an email indicating how the evening before went and working with the Night Owl Support Systems staff is a real pleasure.
If anyone ever wants to speak with any of us, we would be glad to share our confidence in and appreciation for your service. (Julie Wald, Program Director, Support Systems, Inc.- North Dakota)
“When we began our partnership several years ago, families and individuals were reluctant to try a service that replaced overnight staff.”
The experience of a couple of people with the NOSS system turned that around fairly quickly. Now we have 6 individuals supported overnight by the technology saving the state an estimated $190,000 annually but more importantly, providing people with the opportunity to add services in to their daytime hours and be more active in their community. (Susan Rinne, Executive Director Life Designs Inc. Indiana)
“NOSS is a cost effective way to provide individuals with the support they require and autonomy they desire.”
Dane County has partnered with Night Owl Support Systems (NOSS) since their inception as a Waisman Center Demonstration Pilot in 2001. NOSS assists individuals to live as independently as possible with the electronic monitoring and support they need to remain safe. More than just a one size fits all, electronic notification system, Night Owl Support Services’ staff are active team members and problem solvers. They create highly individualized solutions for each situation. Most importantly they ensure a rapid, on-site, human response when needed.
Monica Bear, Dane County I/DD Community Services Manager