Medicines in School
Supporting children with medical needs – Guidance for Parents
What are your responsibilities?
- Parents are responsible for making sure that their child is well enough to attend the setting and able to participate in the curriculum as normal. However, General Practitioners (GPs) may advise that children should attend or recommence school/setting while still needing to take medicines. In other cases, to enable children with a chronic illness to lead as normal and happy a life as possible, it may be necessary for them to take prescribed medicines during setting hours.
- In order for the school to plan effective support arrangements, parents must provide sufficient information about their child’s medical condition and any treatment or special care needed, at the admission stage, and keep the setting informed of any new or changing needs.
- If there are any special religious and/or cultural beliefs, which may affect any medical care that the child needs, particularly in the event of an emergency, it is the responsibility of the parent to inform the setting and confirm this in writing.
Supporting children with medical needs
When the setting is notified that a child has medical needs, the relevant member of staff will contact parents to discuss how the child’s needs can be met at school and complete the appropriate form. Other professionals will be contacted for support if necessary.
Administration of Medicines
Medicines should only be administered at school when it would be detrimental to a child’s health or school attendance not to do so.
In most circumstances the administration of medicines is the responsibility of parents.
Where clinically possible, medicines should be administered in dose frequencies which enable them to be taken outside school hours.
Settings cannot be expected to take responsibility for any non-prescribed medicines parents may bring or send into the setting to help with minor ailments. However, staff should take the same care that a reasonable, responsible and careful parent would take in similar circumstances.
If it has been agreed between parents and school to give non-prescribed medicine from home to a child, it should be handed into the school office and parents need to complete and sign the consent form. Records must be kept, including the name of the medicine, the circumstances in which it may be administered, records of receipt including quantity, the current quantity stored, administration, monitoring of expiry dates and disposal. The parent should consent to the administration of non-prescription medicines in appropriate doses, with written instructions about when the child/young person should take it. The administration protocol must include a check when they had their last dose and ensure the child/young person has not already had the maximum amount in 24 hours; e.g. Paracetamol should not be administered if taken within the last 4 hours and no more than 4 doses in a 24 hour period.
For any medicines given, staff will ensure the manufactures instructions are followed. A member of staff will supervise the child taking the medication.
Schools are advised not to keep medicines in the setting for general use. The exceptions to this are paracetamol and anti-histamine, which the school keep on site. On admission, parents will be asked to give written consent for the administration of liquid paracetamol and antihistamine, if needed. Telephone consent will always be attempted in the first instance and this permission will be reviewed annually. Parents must inform the school if the child has been administered any medication prior to arriving at school. Paracetamol cannot be administered if already taken within the last 4 hours and no more than 4 doses in a 24 hour period. Unless otherwise advised, the 4 hours will commence from the time the child arrived at the school to avoid any potential overdosing.
If a child experiences a temperature of over 37.5˚C whilst at school, the school office will ring parents to establish if any medication had already been given, if not already known, and to agree next steps e.g. to be given paracetamol at school and monitored, or given paracetamol whilst awaiting parental collection. On parent’s consent and/or prior completion of consent at registration, staff will administer the liquid paracetamol.
If a child experiences a headache (not associated with a head injury), toothache or dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) the school office will ring parents to establish if any medication had already been given, if not already known, and to agree next steps e.g. to be given paracetamol at school and monitored, or given paracetamol whilst awaiting parental collection. On parent’s consent and/or prior completion of consent at registration, staff will administer the liquid paracetamol.
If a child shows signs of an allergic reaction whilst at school, staff will attempt to contact parents and inform them of their child’s condition. On parent’s consent and/or prior completion of consent at registration, staff will administer the liquid antihistamine.
A child under 16 should never be given medicine containing aspirin, additionally the school are unable to administer ibuprofen unless prescribed by a doctor.
Children should not bring cough sweets/lozenges into school.
In most circumstances the administration of medicines is the responsibility of parents. If medicines are prescribed for your child, ask your doctor if they can be taken outside of the hours attended by your child in their educational setting. If this it not possible, offer to attend the setting to administer his/her medication.
Only prescribed medicines that are in-date, labelled, provided in the original container as dispensed by a pharmacist and include the child/young person’s name, instructions for administration, dosage and storage can be accepted. The exception to this is Insulin, which must be in date, but is generally provided inside a pen or pump, rather than in its original container.
Parents are responsible for ensuring medicines do not exceed their expiry date.
Parents must bring in any equipment required to administer the medicine e.g. medicine spoons, oral syringes, syringes for injections, sharps containers.
Medicines should be brought to the setting by the parent or other responsible adult, and handed to a member of the office staff where details and consent will be sought. If children suffer seriously from eczema and need prescribed cream, this should be given to the school office and a consent form completed but children should be encouraged to apply this themselves.
Prescribed medicines will be stored at the office, in a refrigerator if needed, except for inhalers and adrenaline auto-injectors which will be kept in the classrooms where they are easily accessible unless a risk assessment highlights this to be unsuitable (with a second inhaler/adrenaline auto-injector kept in the office).
Children should be trained to take their inhalers themselves but parents must inform us if supervision is required (Asthma booklet)
For children who require an inhaler at school, parents will be asked to complete an Asthma Care Plan booklet.
The school keeps an emergency inhaler (salbutamol inhaler) which should only be used by children for whom:
- written parental consent for use of the emergency inhaler has been given
- who have either been diagnosed with asthma and prescribed an inhaler, or who have been prescribed an inhaler as a reliever medication.
The inhaler can be used if the pupil’s prescribed inhaler is not available or broken, and a record is kept of the details and parents informed in writing.
For children who require an adrenaline auto-injector at school, parents will be asked to complete an Anaphylactic Care Plan booklet.
If a child without an adrenaline auto-injector is believed to go into anaphylactic shock, the school will ring 999. The medical professionals may tell the school to use an adrenaline auto-injector held on site even if it is not prescribed for that child. If this is the case, the child whose adrenaline auto-injector it is will also be taken to the hospital and parents contacted.
Children with allergies who do not require medication
As soon as a parent informs us of an allergy which does not require an auto-adrenalin injector, parents will be asked to complete appendix 10 and a Special Dietary Requirement form from Twelve15 and ‘Details of Allergies’ form (if food related) and information is shared with the relevant staff.