Direct Support Professionals play an important role in lives of people we support. You may see them everyday in the homes assisting with meals, at the grocery store, or even over Facetime as they help loved ones connect. What you don't often see is the energetic souls who are there caring for the homes, ensuring health and safety, to provide supports during the overnight hours.
This overnight support is essential for many of our residential sites. In our apartment settings, the overnight staff are able to rest when supports are not being provided but in our ICF homes employees must remain awake throughout night. Carla Foster has been one of these dedicated overnight employees and says that it can be difficult to adjust to working nights but she takes naps during the day to adjust. She goes on to say, "To stay awake, I put on a gospel program and listen while I work, cleaning cupboards and other tasks. I enjoy being alone by myself to do the work. I don't have to worry about others, I just do what needs done and I help the guys when it's time." She continues on, stating, "I love everything about working at ABLE and love working with the guys I support. They are like family to me."
Finding employees to fill the overnight needs, has been challenging at times. In an effort to provide stability to the overnight workforce, ABLE, Inc. recently implemented a shift differential for hours worked from 10pm-6am. This differential applies an increase of $3.00/ hour in our ICF homes and $1.50/ hour in
apartment settings to the base rate of pay for the employee working.
Glenda Crain has been a DSP for 6 years covering overnight hours and is pleased about the differential. She shares that she likes the quiet at night, working by herself. "You do have to be an independent and self-motivated person. People I support are counting on me to assist them during scheduled times. When I start to get tired at 3am, I get busy mopping the floor. You just stay active." One of the challenges she says is "you don't have as much time with the people you're supporting so it is harder to build relationships with them at first. You need time to build trust. I find ways to have fun with people from 8-9pm before they go to sleep and in the mornings from 6-8am." Glenda finds creative ways to impact people's lives. She states, "During the night, I decorate birthday cakes for the people I support and they just love it! It's important to discover what people love and make their world better because it makes your world better."