This policy relates to ALL medications to be administered at school, including prescription as well as non-prescription medication, including analgesics, such as paracetamol and aspirin and other medications that can be purchased over the counter without a prescription.
Many students attending school need medication to control a health condition. It is necessary that teachers, as part of their duty of care, assist students, where appropriate to take their medication. School will ensure the students privacy and confidentiality and will exercise sensitivity towards this issue to avoid any stigmatisation. All medication to be administered at the school should be accompanied by written advice providing directions for appropriate storage and administration (see SRG 22.214.171.124.2.1).
A student is not to take his or her first dose of a new medication at school as the student should be supervised by the family or health professional in case of an allergic reaction.
We require all parents/careers the following in respect of Administration of medication:
- To minimise the quantity of medication held at the school, it should be considered if the medication can be taken outside of the school day, for example medication required three times a day may be able to be taken before and after school, and before bed.
- All medication to be administered at the school must be in the original medication bottle or container and clearly labelled including the name of the student, dosage and time to be administered.
- When administering prescription medication, the written advice received must be supported by specific written instructions on the original medication bottle or container, such as that on the pharmacists label noting the name of the student, dosage and time to be administered.
- Analgesics can mask signs and symptoms of serious illness or injury and will not, therefore, be administered by the school as a standard first aid strategy. Analgesics such as aspirin and paracetamol are not stored in the schools first aid kit (see SRG 126.96.36.199.1).
- The student’s parent/carer or adult/independent student (see SRG 188.8.131.52) may wish to supply medication to be administered at the school.
- The principal (or nominee) administering medication needs to ensure that (see appendices):
- the right child;
- has the right medication;
- and the right dose;
- by the right route (for example, oral or inhaled);
- at the right time; and
- that they write down what they have observed.
- The principal will inform the classroom teacher of those students in their charge who require medication to be administered at the school and teachers should release students at prescribed times so that they may receive their medications from the principal or nominee.
- Medication prescribed for a particular student should be retained solely for the use of that student. Only in a life threatening emergency would consideration be given to any variation of this requirement, such as in the case of an Asthma first aid (see SRG 184.108.40.206) – if the student’s own blue reliever puffer is not readily available, one should be obtained from the school’s asthma emergency kit or borrowed from another student or staff member and given without delay.
- For information about administration of specialised medical procedures, see 4.5.9.
- All medication to be administered at the school should be accompanied by written advice (220.127.116.11.2.1 Medication Authority Form – see appendices) providing directions for appropriate storage and administration. Ideally, the school should receive this advice from the student’s medical/health practitioner who should complete the relevant Department’s Medication Authority Form (see SRG 18.104.22.168). This ensures that the medication is medically warranted. If this advice cannot be provided by the student’s medical/health practitioner, then the principal may agree to the Medication Authority Form being completed by the student’s parent/carer or adult/independent student (see SRG 22.214.171.124) (see appendices).
- Please note that a Medication Authority Form is not required for students with Asthma or Anaphylaxis as this is covered under ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis and the Asthma Foundation’s School Asthma Action Plan (see SRG 126.96.36.199 and 4.5.14) (see appendices).
- A medication log (see SRG 188.8.131.52) or an equivalent official medications register should be completed by the person administering the taking of medication. It is recognised that in many specialist school settings medication is supervised using a system of two staff members checking the information noted on the medication log. This is an appropriate added safety measure and seen as good practice. The medication log provides for this cross checking.
- School will assess it’s ability to store medication provided by the student’s parent/carer or adult/independent student (see SRG 184.108.40.206) for the period of time specified in the written instructions received. School may store medication as a daily supply, or a week’s supply at the most, except in long-term continuous care arrangements if deemed safe to do so.
- As medication must be supplied in the original bottle or container, the student’s parent/carer or adult/independent student (see SRG 220.127.116.11) may need to organise a second labelled container from the pharmacy for safe storage at home.
- The medication must be within the expiry date of the product when delivered to the school.
- Medications must be able to stored strictly in accordance with product instructions (paying particular note to temperature) and in the original container in which dispensed.
- Some families may need to supply thermal carry packs to maintain safe temperature storage and for ease of transport on excursions.
- Storage should be secure, preferably somewhere other than in the classroom and not in the first aid cabinet, with clear labelling and access limited to the school staff responsible for medication storage and supervision. However, where immediate access is required by the student, such as in the case of asthma, anaphylaxis, or diabetes, medication must be stored in an easily accessible location.
- Students in the early years will generally need supervision of their medication and other aspects of health care management. In line with their age and stage of development and capabilities, older students can take responsibility for their own health care.
- School in consultation with parents/carers or adult/independent students (see SRG 18.104.22.168) and the student’s medical/health practitioner should consider the age and circumstances by which the student could be permitted to self-administer their medication.
- Ideally, medication to be self-administered by the student should be stored by the school (see SRG 22.214.171.124.3). However, where immediate access is required by the student, such as in the case of asthma, anaphylaxis, or diabetes, medication must be stored in an easily accessible location. The school will seek written permission by the student’s medical/health practitioner or parent/carer or adult/independent student (see SRG 126.96.36.199), ideally via the complete of a Medication Authority Form (see SRG 188.8.131.52.2.1) to carry their medication with them (see appendices).
- Please note that a Medication Authority Form is not required for students with Asthma or Anaphylaxis as this is covered under ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis and the Asthma Foundation’s School Asthma Action Plan (see SRG 184.108.40.206 and 4.5.14).
- It is up to the Principal’s discretion to agree for the student to carry and manage his/her own medication. This would be advisable only where:
- the medication did not have special storage requirements such as refrigeration
- the practice did not create a situation where there was potential unsafe access to the medication by other students.
- Ideally, the medication carried and self-managed by students should:
- be in the original pharmacy-labelled container
- be limited to daily requirement (preferred).
- The school will emphasise the need for students to respect other student’s medication and to keep the student’s own medication secure to minimise risk to others.
- Where required, will observe and document behaviour such as for attention disorders or epilepsy, where such observations can be used by the student’s medical/health practitioner. It is not the role of the school to interpret behaviour in relation to a medical condition. Nor can we be expected to monitor the effects of medication.
- If the school is concerned for any reason about a student’s health, then appropriate first aid and emergency procedures will be activated.
- If a student takes the wrong medication, the wrong amount of medication, or takes medication via the wrong route, the following steps should be followed:
- if required, follow first aid procedures as outlined on the Student Health Support Plan (see SRG 220.127.116.11) (or in the case of Anaphylaxis an Anaphylaxis Management Plan (see SRG 18.104.22.168).
- ring the POISONS INFORMATION LINE 13 11 26 give details of the incident and student act immediately upon their advice (for example, if you are advised to call an ambulance we shall immediately do so (see SRG 22.214.171.124)
- contact the student’s parents/carers or the emergency contact person to notified them of the medication error and action taken
- Review medication management procedures at the school in light of an incident.
- Principal undertakes the responsibilities in relation to emergency and security management (see SRG 126.96.36.199.1).
- Clarification about an individual student’s medication should always be directed through the parent/carer or adult/independent student (see SRG 188.8.131.52) to the prescribing medical/health practitioner.
- General information about medication (that is, questions relating to safe medication practices but not identifying individual students) may be obtained from local or hospital pharmacists.