If you are preparing to send a little one back to elementary or middle school this year, you likely have a lot on your mind. If your student also takes medications during the school day, then you have even more to think about. By having a few conversations with your child, their physician, and their school administrators, you can make sure that all medications are managed correctly and safely while your son or daughter is at school.
Here are three conversations you should be having about your child’s daily medication schedule as you prepare to start the school year.
This is the first conversation you should have. Your child’s prescribing physician is the most familiar with their medical history and needs, as well as the requirements for medication they’ve prescribed. Your physician may also be familiar with the local school districts and what their protocols are for administering medication to students. Take some time to talk through the medications that your student needs to take while at school, how/when they need to be taken, and how they should be stored (e.g. many medications require refrigeration).
Rest assured that there are likely many students in your school district who require medication during the school day. As such, most schools have detailed guidelines and regulations for the management and administration of those drugs. Ask for those guidelines as early as possible, print them out, if needed, and review them in detail. Then be sure to follow up with your school administrators if you have any additional questions. Once you understand the guidelines, you will likely need to review them with your pharmacist and possibly your student’s prescribing physician as well.
Common guidlines you can expect to see are:
While in elementary or middle school, it is very rare that a child will be given permission to “self carry” or self-administer their medications. However, it is critically important that they understand the basics about their medical needs and their treatment. Topics to cover include:
For example, your student should only take their purple pills from their teacher or the school nurse after lunch, never any other color or from any other adult or student, and they should speak up if their stomach hurts at all during the day. Your pediatrician or prescribing physician can also help you to think through what information is age-appropriate for your student’s unique situation.
With a few thoughtful conversation and some help from your pharmacist, you will be able to help your child safely take medications at school.
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