MedicationSafely Administering Medications
A guide for child care service providers

With the increase in contagious infections and diseases to be seen in most child care services at this time of year, it's only natural that more child care workers will be administering medication.

However, it is a service that requires meticulous attention to detail, good record keeping and communication amongst team members and strict adherence to policy guidelines.

Furthermore, staff should be kept aware of your service's policy at all times even if they aren't actually responsible for administering any medication themselves.

In Staying Healthy in Child Care the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends the following guidelines for child care services willing to administer medication to children:

Prior to the child becoming ill:
  • During orientation child care services should clearly explain to parents the centre's policy for administering medication, including paracetamol. Parents should be made aware of the centre's expectations and the parent's responsibilities prior to the child becoming ill.
  • Parents should be told that centres will only administer medication in its original container with the dispensing label attached listing the child as the prescribed person and the dosage to be given.
  • This rule should apply to all medications, regardless of whether they are non- prescribed, such as teething gels, nappy creams and cough medicine or prescribed medications such as antibiotics. Parents should ask pharmacies to provide dispensing labels and dosage instructions for non-prescribed medications.
  • Parents should be told that the child care service is unable to administer medication at a different dosage or frequency to what is specified on the label unless alternative advice is received from a medical practitioner.
  • Parents should be advised that the centre will not administer medication that is past its use-by date or labeled for another person.
  • Parents should be told the centre's policy on unused medication or medication that needs to be returned for use at home
  • Parents should be told that the use of nebulisers is permitted provided that parents show staff how to correctly use them.
  • Parents should be asked to complete a medication record form.
If a child requires medication:
  • Parents should be instructed to deliver any medication to a staff member so that it can be stored securely and at the recommended temperature. Medication must not be left in a child's bag where it could be accessed.
  • Staff should ensure the medication is administered at the right time and in the right amount at the prescribed intervals.
  • All medication should be checked by two staff members before it is administered to ensure the correct child is being given the medication.
  • The medication record form should be signed by the staff member who administered the medication and the staff member who cross checked that the correct medication and dose was given to the correct person at the designated time.
Responsibilities of parents
  • Parents should be reminded to complete/review a medication permission form at least weekly when the child is attending care and medication is required.
  • These forms should include details such as the name of the child, the name of the medication, the dosage and frequency of administration and how the medication should be administered and stored.
  • Parents should be instructed to hand the medication and form to the child care provider on arrival at the centre and not to leave the medication in the child's bag or locker.
  • Parents should be asked to collect the medication on departure from the centre.
  • Parents should be asked to confirm their child was given the required medication at the correct time by speaking with a staff member at the end of the day.
All of the above guidelines apply equally to medications prescribed by alternative medical practitioners and such as homeopaths and naturopaths.®
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