Prescription medicine in schools
By the end of the first week of February, all of the nation’s children are safely back at school and parents knee-deep in the usual paper work that comes home in school back packs.
That pile usually includes forms for the sick bay, and information on the school policy regarding proce4dure if a child becomes at school. For the parents of those children who must take regular medication to manage a chronic or acute condition, it’s an added worry. Their child is moving from the relatively small world of child care and kindergarten, where they are known to teachers and carers, to the bigger world of the school play ground, a range of teachers and school bureaucracy.
NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser advises that some medicinewise things that parents can do to make the transition easier for everyone involved.
Researching, planning and communicating are three key steps to making sure that a child is able to safely and effectively take their medicines at school.
1. Check staff is trained to handle the specific medical condition and are able to administer medication. Schools have written policies outlining the requirements and safety precautions necessary, but some may be better equipped than others to deal with particular situations.
2. Plan and provide a written medicines routine for staff and find out who will be responsible for administering medication. The plan should include:
• details of your child’s condition,
• the medicines needed while at school,
• how these must be taken and
• any precautions to ensure they’re given safely.
The family GP can help develop a plan, including details of what staff should do in case of an emergency.
3. Supply the required quantity of medicine and any equipment necessary to give it. Check that medicine is in date and that staff are aware of any storage requirements (eg in the fridge).
Communication is vital with any teaching or support staff that might come into contact with your child. This will reduce the risk of medicine mistakes and help allay any fears or anxieties during the transition period in these first few weeks of the new school year.
For more information on measuring and administering medicines to children visit http://www.nps.org.au/bemedicinewise/children or call Medicines Line on 1300 633 424 (1300 MEDICINE).