Support for Children with Medical Needs
Parents have the prime responsibility for their child’s health and should provide school with information about their child’s medical condition. Parents, and the child if appropriate, should obtain details from their child’s General Practitioner (GP) or pediatrician, if needed. Parents should provide the teacher and administrator with full information about their child’s medical needs, including details on medicines their child needs.
Non-prescription medicines should not be brought to school. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child does not abuse, pass on or otherwise misuse the medication..
Medicines should only be brought to school when essential; that is where it would be detrimental to a child’s health if the medicine were not administered during the school ‘day’. School can only accept medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor, dentist, nurse prescriber or pharmacist prescriber. A meeting with the parents, the Health and Welfare Nurse, and appropriate staff is required before medicine is administered to a child. Medicines should always be provided in the original container as dispensed by a pharmacist and include the prescriber’s instructions for administration and dosage. School cannot accept medicines that have been taken out of the container as originally dispensed nor make changes to dosages on parental instructions. It is helpful, where clinically appropriate, if medicines are prescribed in dose frequencies which enable it to be taken outside school hours. Parents are requested to ask the prescriber about this. It is to be noted that medicines that need to be taken three times a day could be taken in the morning, after school hours and at bedtime.
Short-Term Medical Needs
Many children will need to take medicines during the day at some time during their time in school. This will usually be for a short period only, perhaps to finish a course of antibiotics or to apply a lotion. However, such medicines should only be taken to school where it would be detrimental to a child’s health if it were not administered during the day. Again they must be supplied in their original container, with prescribers’ dosage instructions and written consent from a parent or guardian as well as a note from the prescribing doctor.
Long-Term Medical Needs
School needs to know about any particular needs before a child is admitted, or when a child first develops a medical need. For children who attend hospital appointments on a regular basis, special arrangements may also be necessary. It is often helpful to develop a written health care plan for such children, involving the parents and relevant health professionals.
This can include:
- details of a child’s condition
- special requirement e.g. dietary needs, pre-activity precautions
- and any side effects of the medicines
- what constitutes an emergency
- what action to take in an emergency
- what not to do in the event of an emergency
- who to contact in an emergency
- the role the staff can play
* Roles and Responsibilities of Parents and Caregivers should provide the school administration and teacher with sufficient information about their child’s medical needs if treatment or special care is needed. They should, jointly with the school, reach agreement on the school’s role in supporting their child’s medical needs.
Parents should keep any child at home when they are acutely unwell in order to reduce the spread of infection. This is to protect other children with medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes, for whom illness can produce complications.