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Supports at school for students with health support needs

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​Supports at school

Parents and carers of children who need health support at school, such as support for a health procedure or taking medication at school, should talk to their child's school about their child's needs.

Each student with a health condition will need different levels of support or supervision and different reasonable adjustments. Schools work with parents and children to build independence in managing their health needs.

State schools consult with parents about the reasonable adjustments that may need to be made to support health needs and health procedures at school. Students are also consulted as much as possible, depending on their age and ability to participate in these discussions.

Reasonable adjustments are identified based on the student's individual needs and may include adjustments to learning activities, teaching strategies, assessment, communication, use of assistive technology or changes to the learning environment. The student may also need adjustments to support them to engage with peers and to stay healthy and safe. Schools determine the best way to record the individual supports being provided to students at their school.

The department's State Schools Registered Nurses (SSRNs) work with state schools to provide training for school staff across a range of health support areas to ensure that staff are confident and competent when providing support to students. The school is responsible for accessing this training, as required. Training may be provided in a range of ways, including through onsite face-to-face and virtual formats. More information is available on the State schools nursing service fact sheet.

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Health support procedures

A wide variety of supports are provided at school so that children can safely attend school and participate in school activities. Supports are available for:

  • asthma
  • anaphylaxis
  • diabetes management
  • epilepsy
  • enteral feeding (gastrostomy, nasogastric)
  • urinary management (catheterisation, urostomy care)
  • airway management (tracheostomy care, oral suctioning, oxygen therapy)
  • bowel management (colostomy/ileostomy care).

The school will follow the Managing student’s health support needs at school procedure.

State schools work with the department’s State Schools Registered Nurses (SSRNs), parents and the student’s health care team to develop plans about the health supports needed at school. This can occur in a range of ways, including onsite face-to-face and virtual formats. The plan sets out the support that will be provided at school and are agreed by parents or the student, if appropriate.

Most health procedures and supports are provided by school staff who are trained by the SSRN.

If you have any questions regarding the health supports being provided for your child, or how these are documented, please talk to your child’s classroom teacher or principal.

It is important that you:

  • keep the school informed about any changes in your child's health condition and treatments
  • provide the school with relevant medical authorisations and/or Action Plans (e.g. asthma, allergy, anaphylaxis)
  • provide the school with medication that has not expired and is clearly labelled on a pharmacy label with the student's name, relevant instructions and dosage
  • provide health support equipment and consumables as agreed with the school
  • provide alert apparel (e.g. alert bracelet), as required.
Asthma

Students who have asthma will experience symptoms in different ways, varying from mild symptoms to requiring ongoing medication. Some students are able to self-manage their asthma or require minimal teacher/school staff supervision. Others may need support to manage their asthma. Discuss your child’s needs for managing their asthma with the school principal. You can organise support for them if they need it, or approval for them to manage and carry their own medication. It is important that the school knows if you child has asthma even if they can manage their own medication.

Students with asthma may need an Asthma Action Plan. This is completed by your child’s health care team and provided to your child’s school.

The school will follow the Supporting students with asthma and/or at risk of anaphylaxis at school procedure. Another useful resource for schools is the Asthma guidelines for Queensland schools (PDF, 859KB), produced by Asthma Australia.

It is important that you:

  • keep the school informed about any changes in your child's health condition and treatments
  • provide the school with relevant medical authorisations and/or Action Plans (e.g. asthma, allergy, anaphylaxis)
  • provide the school with medication that has not expired and is clearly labelled on a pharmacy label with the student's name, relevant instructions and dosage
  • provide health support equipment and consumables as agreed with the school
  • provide alert apparel (e.g. alert bracelet), as required.
Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life threatening allergic reaction.

Not all children and young people with allergies are at risk of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergy and can relate to a wide range of foods, insect bites and stings, medications and other substances.

State schools take significant steps to ensure the safety of students who are at risk of anaphylaxis.

It is important that your child’s school is aware of up-to-date information about your child’s health condition, triggers or allergens and the support required. Provide your school with your child’s Action Plan for Anaphylaxis. This is completed by your child’s health care team and signed by your medical practitioner. It includes information about responses required, equipment and medication.

The school will follow the Supporting students with asthma and/or at risk of anaphylaxis at school procedure and Anaphylaxis guidelines for Queensland state schools (DOCX, 2.6MB).

Schools implement 2 types of plans for when students attending their school are at risk of anaphylaxis:

  • anaphylaxis risk management plans which apply to the whole school and for school events held offsite.
  • action plans which are used to respond when a student is experiencing anaphylaxis.

School anaphylaxis risk management plans

Schools develop and implement an anaphylaxis risk management plan (DOCX, 159KB) which takes into account individual student's conditions and apply actions to reduce the risk of exposure to allergens across the whole school.

The anaphylaxis risk management plans sets out things schools will do to minimise students' risk of being exposed to triggers or allergens.

Schools cannot make claims that they are an allergen-free or nut-free zone. It is not possible to guarantee that there are no allergens or trace of potential allergens (e.g. food substances or insects) in a school environment, therefore, it's important to have a procedure in place to quickly provide emergency medication to students if required.

Schools can work with a State Schools Registered Nurse (SSRN) to develop anaphylaxis risk management plans for events held offsite or out of school time such as camps and excursions. This can occur in a range of ways, including onsite face-to-face and virtual formats.

All state schools are required to have at least one or more adrenaline auto-injectors (e.g. Epipen®) at their school in an easily accessible location to respond to emergencies.

While state schools have auto-injector (e.g. Epipen®) at their school, if your child is prescribed an auto-injector you must ensure they have one at school, which is stored together with their action plan. Talk to your child's class teacher or school principal about how their auto-injector will be managed at school.

Training for school staff

The department’s SSRNs provide training for school staff to ensure that they are confident and competent when providing support for students with anaphylaxis. The school is responsible for accessing this training, as required. Training may be provided in a range of ways, including onsite face-to-face and virtual formats.

It is important that you:

  • keep the school informed about any changes in your child's health condition and treatments
  • provide the school with relevant medical authorisations and/or Action Plans (e.g. asthma, allergy, anaphylaxis)
  • provide the school with medication that has not expired and is clearly labelled on a pharmacy label with the student's name, relevant instructions and dosage
  • provide health support equipment and consumables as agreed with the school
  • provide alert apparel (e.g. alert bracelet), as required.
Diabetes

If your child has diabetes it is important that you let the school know as soon as possible. It is also important that you let your child’s school know if there are any changes in their condition or support needs.

The school will follow the Managing student’s health support needs at school procedure. Another useful resource for schools are the Students with diabetes: guidelines for Queensland schools, produced by Diabetes Queensland.

A State Schools Registered Nurse (SSRN) will develop a health plan in consultation with you, your child (if appropriate), school staff and your child’s health care team. This can occur in a range of ways, including onsite face-to-face and virtual platforms. There are 2 types of health plans:

  • an Individual Health Plan (IHP)—describes the routine procedures required at school, such as blood glucose monitoring and/or administration of insulin
  • an Emergency Health Plan (EHP)—provides step-by-step directions on how to safely recognise and manage a predictable medical emergency specific to the health condition such as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), including the correct use of emergency medication.

These plans enable your child to attend school and participate in school activities safely.

Using smart devices to monitor diabetes

Talk to your school principal if you would like your child to use a smart device (such as a phone) to monitor their diabetes throughout the school day or during school activities such as school camps.

The principal will ask you to enter into an agreement about how the device will be managed and used during school hours.

Parents are responsible for managing the device and ensuring it is working, is insured and if lost or damaged, is replaced. Staff cannot use their own devices to monitor a student’s health information.

Training for school staff

The department’s SSRNs provide training for school staff to ensure that they are confident and competent when providing support for students with diabetes. The school is responsible for accessing this training, as required. Training may be provided in a range of ways, including onsite face-to-face and virtual platforms.

It is important that you:

  • keep the school informed about any changes in your child's health condition and treatments
  • provide the school with relevant medical authorisations and/or Diabetes Management Plans
  • provide the school with medication that has not expired and is clearly labelled on a pharmacy label with the student's name, relevant instructions and dosage
  • provide health support equipment and consumables as agreed with the school
  • provide alert apparel (e.g. alert bracelet), as required.
Epilepsy

If your child has epilepsy it is important that you let the school know as soon as possible. It is also important that you let your child’s school know if there are any changes in their condition or support needs.

You can supply your child’s school with a letter or an Epilepsy plan (PDF, 435KB). This is completed by your child’s health care team in consultation with you and your child.

The school will follow the Managing student’s health support needs at school procedure.

A State Schools Registered Nurse (SSRN) will develop health plans and provide training if required, using the epilepsy plan in consultation with you, your child (if appropriate), school staff and your child’s health care team. This can occur in a range of ways, including onsite face-to-face and virtual platforms. There are 2 types of health plans:

  • an Individual Health Plan (IHP)—describes the routine procedures required at school.
  • an Emergency Health Plan (EHP)—provides step-by-step directions on how to safely manage a predictable medical emergency specific to the health condition, including the correct use of emergency medication.

These plans enable your child to attend school and participate in school activities safely.

It is important that you:

  • keep the school informed about any changes in your child's health condition and treatments
  • provide the school with relevant medical authorisations
  • provide the school with medication that has not expired and is clearly labelled on a pharmacy label with the student's name, relevant instructions and dosage
  • provide health support equipment and consumables as agreed with the school
  • provide alert apparel (e.g. alert bracelet), as required.
Medication

Some students require medication to be given at school to manage their health conditions. This includes emergency medications; first aid emergency medications; over-the-counter medication; prescription medication; routine medication and short-term medication.

The school will follow the Administration of medications in schools procedure and the Guidelines for the administration of medications in schools (DOCX, 1.7MB).

For all medication administered at school, your consent will be required. This will be provided to the school by completing Section 1 of the Administration of medical record sheet (routine/short term) form (DOCX, 118KB) or the Administration of medication record sheet (emergency medication) form (DOCX, 110KB).

Medication can only be administered if it has been prescribed, is in the original container and has a pharmacy label.

It is important that you work with the school to ensure that the support needs of your child are implemented.

It is important that you:

  • keep the school informed about any changes in medication or dosage
  • provide the school with relevant medical authorisations
  • provide the school with medication that has not expired and is clearly labelled on a pharmacy label with the student's name, relevant instructions and dosage
  • provide health support equipment and consumables as agreed with the school
  • provide alert apparel (e.g. alert bracelet), as required.

Resources available to schools

Schools are able to access a range of resources and support services to assist them to provide health support needs. Please contact your child’s school to discuss your child’s specific needs.

Schools are responsible for accessing resources and support services to assist them to provide health supports.

They may need your consent to access these support services.

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Last updated 09 March 2021