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Managing Chronic Health Conditions at School

ChronicHealthCover As more and more children/young people are being diagnosed with a chronic health condition such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and anaphylaxis, teachers are faced with the challenge of supporting a student with these conditions in school. This can seem like a great responsibility and one teachers, principals, school staff and parents can be anxious about according to Elaine Newell, Diabetes Development Officer, Diabetes Federation of Ireland.

To address this need, the Asthma Society of Ireland, Diabetes Federation of Ireland, Brainwave the Irish Epilepsy Association and Anaphylaxis Ireland came together to produce a resource pack Managing Chronic Health Conditions at School to help teachers and parents to work together and provide a safe and enjoyable school environment for students with any one of these conditions.

This pack is a toolkit containing:

  • Information on developing or updating your school’s guidelines on managing students with chronic health conditions.
  • Standardised healthcare plan and template forms/letters that can be adapted to meet your school’s information need for each student with a chronic condition.
  • Clear outline of parents, teachers and board of management responsibilities to aid communication and expectations of all parties in managing a student with a chronic condition on a daily basis.
  • Practical information including an Emergency Plan on each condition for teachers and guidance on safe storage and safe disposal of medications at school.

According to Elaine Newell “this resource pack aids communication between all parties and provides various tools so school personnel are informed on each condition. The first step in supporting a student with a chronic health condition is removing the fear of the unknown. So, with the support of the INTO, we also produced a 9 minute DVD on managing each condition at school. These short DVDs are available to view from the links below. When a teacher is informed that a student with one of these conditions will be in their class, as a first step, they should take the time to view the relevant DVD”.

Please note that the links below are to external sites. If the DVD you are looking for is not listed below, please contact the relevant organisation for further information.

Catherine Murphy, a teacher in Cork states “from a teacher’s perspective having a student with diabetes in the class is manageable as long as resources are in place. These would include information on the student’s condition, regular contact with the student’s parents and in addition, an Emergency Plan in the staffroom so that all staff can see the steps to follow, if necessary”.

Peter Gunning, Principal of a Cork school feels that “the administration of medicines in school is an area for which all schools welcome support and this new resource will be of enormous benefit to us, not only in assisting us with drafting protocols but also in helping to de-mystify the use of the Anapen for example.”

Every school in Ireland will receive this resource pack in September 2011 and it is also available to download below.

Managing Chronic Health Conditions at School (pdf, 3,986 kb)
A Resource Pack for Teachers and Parents