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Medical conditions

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What an approved provider should do when a child enrolled at their service has a specific health care need, allergy, or relevant medical condition.

Review your policies and procedures

Is your medical conditions policy up to date? Review regulation 90 of the National Regulations to make sure your medical conditions policy includes all requirements. Consider whether your practices are in line with current preferred practice by consulting with relevant organisations.

Reflect on your policy with relevant staff and educators to determine whether practices and procedures are documented clearly, easily understood and provide guidance for all relevant medical conditions. Consider how staff and educators are made aware of these practices, for example, through induction, staff meetings, newsletters or training sessions.

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Assess and minimise risk

Consider any risks relating to the child’s health care need, allergy or medical condition. Consult with the child’s parents or guardians about the risks and how they can be minimised. This may include consideration of food handling and consumption, if relevant to the child, as well as allergens.

You need to make sure that practices and procedures are in place to ensure that a child requiring medication does not attend the service without it.

Inform staff members, educators and volunteers

Your medical conditions policy must require the development of a communications plan. You need to make sure that all staff members, educators and volunteers at your service:

  • are informed about the medical conditions policy
  • know which children at the service have a medical condition
  • can easily identify any child with a medical condition, the child’s medical management plan and the child’s risk minimisation plan
  • can locate the child’s medication.

Consider whether your practices and procedures for sharing this knowledge are effective and up-to-date.

Confirm whether staff and educator qualifications, including first aid qualifications, are up to date and relevant for medical conditions that need to be managed within your service. Further information about qualification requirements can be found on the ACECQA website.

Work with the child’s family

When a parent or guardian advises you that their child has a specific health care need, allergy or other relevant medical condition, you must provide them with a copy of your medical conditions policy. You may wish to set aside some time to discuss with parents/guardians how the policy guides your service to meet their child’s medical needs.

Parents or guardians should provide a medical management plan and participate in developing a risk-minimisation plan for their child.

Follow medication, records and authorisation requirements

If a child needs to take medication in relation to their medical condition, your medical conditions policy must set out practices and procedures around ensuring that the child does not attend the service without it. Consider how this could look in your service; for example, procedures for signing children in that include a medication hand-over with the child’s parent or other person who brings the child to care.

Are your medication records up to date and do they include all the requirements set out in Regulation 92 of the National Regulations? Make sure that relevant staff and educators have ready access to medication records and are trained in filling out the records accurately.

Medication must not be given to a child unless authorised. Make sure that you are meeting the requirements of Regulation 93 of the National Regulations, including recording authorisation to administer medication in the child’s medication record.

Common questions

Can a child self-administer medication?

Children over preschool age can self-administer medication if your service permits this. Practices around children over preschool age self-administering medication must be set out in your medical conditions policy, including any practices relating to recording this in the child’s medication record.

Can medication be given to a child without a parent’s authorisation?

In some circumstances, yes—for example, in an anaphylaxis or asthma emergency. Regulations 93(5)(b) and 94 of the National Regulations set out the requirements for emergency administration of medication, including notifying a parent as soon as practicable. In this case, consider whether there has been a serious incident requiring a notification to the Regulatory Authority.

What if a child has a food preference or dietary restriction?

A child’s food preference or dietary restriction—for example, not drinking cow’s milk as the parents do not want them to—is not a diagnosed health care need. This information would be included in the child enrolment record (r. 160) along with the health information to be kept in the enrolment record (r.162).

Where can I access more guidance on preventing anaphylaxis at my service?

The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) has prepared guidelines for the prevention of anaphylaxis in schools, preschools and childcare. The ASCIA guidelines is available on ASCIA website.

Medical management plans

Individual medical management plans are provided by a child’s parents and approved providers may request this before the child is enrolled. It is best practice for parents to consult with the child's registered medical practitioner about a plan and for the medical practitioner's advice to be documented.

Related information

Learn more about an approved provider’s responsibilities relating to the health, safety and wellbeing of children attending their service and when to notify the regulator about an incident:

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Last updated 30 September 2020