First Aid and Medication

Standards and Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:

1. Introduction

You should be clear about what decisions you can make about giving consent for medical treatment and this will be recorded in the child/young person's Placement Plan.

You should have a fully equipped first aid box in the home and in each vehicle used to carry children. Your Supervising Social Worker will make sure arrangements are in place to keep first aid boxes fully stocked when they do a Health and Safety check. You should make sure that you take the opportunity to attend health and safety training opportunities when they arise.

First aid boxes should be kept in a safe accessible place, not within reach of small children, where the people who need to get access to them can do so.

The first aid box may be looked at in an unannounced visit.

2. First Aid

If a child is at risk or requires first aid, you should apply first-aid if it is safe to do so, and contact your Supervising Social Worker as soon as possible. You must not delay the process of getting medical help.

You should always assess the situation and in a medical emergency, send for medical help and an ambulance or the Police if this is needed.

Before help arrives:

  • Do not move the person other than to remove them from immediate danger or place them into the recovery position;
  • Try to find out what has happened;
  • Collect any drugs or spillages (e.g. vomit) for analysis;
  • Do not try and make them sick;
  • Observe the child/young person; keep them calm, warm and quiet.
  • If the person is unconscious:
    • Ensure they can breathe and place them in the recovery position;
    • Do not move them if they are likely to have spinal or other serious injury which may not be obvious;
    • Do not give anything by mouth;
    • Do not attempt to make them sit or stand;
    • Do not leave them on their own.

When medical help arrives, pass on any information available, including samples of vomit and any drugs.

If a child who is placed with you has particular health needs, the child's social worker should provide information and advice on specialist advisory or support groups.

You must have guidance on giving prescribed drugs for children and advice on if you can give drugs not on prescription.

You are expected to complete records when you administer any medication or when there has been a medical incident i.e. hospital admission, consultant/GP appointments.

If you accept responsibility to give medicines either by injections, administering rectal medication or tube feeding etc. the following criteria should be met:

  • The child's parent has given written consent;
  • You are instructed in the technique by a qualified nurse or doctor who is satisfied that you are competent to do it. You should also be aware of any possible reactions to the medication and the necessary steps to correct such an occurrence.

Any health-related issues should always be discussed in supervision meetings and recorded.

You will receive training in relation to the management and administration of medication.

3. Home Remedies

Home Remedies may only be given to a child with the consent of the parent, the child if over 16 or after consulting with the child's GP and recorded in the Placement Plan.

Home Remedies are medicines that can be bought over the counter without prescription, including Paracetamol, Aspirin, homeopathic, herbal, aromatherapy, vitamin supplements or alternative therapies. Consideration should be given as to how long a child continues to use Home Remedies before you arrange to see their GP.

Although Aspirin may be purchased 'over the counter', without prescription; it may not be given to children unless prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Home Remedies must be kept in a locked cabinet that is only accessible to you, unless a child is permitted to keep their own Home Remedies, in which case the arrangements for this must be set out in the Placement Plan.

Home Remedies, other than Paracetamol, should only be given for a maximum of 48 hours. If the symptoms continue the child should see a GP before further dosages are given. Where children are not able to give Home Remedies themselves, care must be taken to make sure they take it correctly and with you there.

4. Allergies

A specialist allergy nurse/consultant will help develop a Health Care plan which should be shared with you and with all agencies working with the child/young person.

The Care and Placement Plan and Health Care Plan should contain the following:

  • All known allergies and associated risks including spotting the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis for the child/young person;
  • Preventative measures should be detailed in the Plan - for example taking daily antihistamines for hay fever, making sure cleaning products and gloves are hypoallergenic, and washing powder is suitable for skin conditions;
  • Actions to take when a young person has an allergic reaction. The plan should describe exactly what to do and who needs to be contacted in the event of an emergency. For example, when to use an Epi Pen and calling for an ambulance;
  • You should be aware of the Plan and should have been trained to administer an Epi Pen by a suitable qualified health professional;
  • The child or young person should be educated around their allergies and what to do in an emergency - a young person may be able to self-administer their own EpiPen or take antihistamines. If this is the case this should be recorded;
  • Medication should be easily accessible so you and/or the child/young person can access their medication in an emergency situation;
  • You should keep a record of each episode and any medication given.

For further information, see the NHS Website or see Allergy UK Website Allergy UK | National Charity.

5. Medicines

The following steps must be followed:

  • Check the medicine to make sure it is prescribed for the child and it is within the expiry date;
  • Make sure the child's name, the name of the medication, and the dosage are correct;
  • Give the medicine in accordance with the instructions;
  • Record when you give the medicine including the date, time, how much, your name and signature;
  • Record if the child refuses the medicine or the reason it was not given;
  • You should not attempt to administer another dose of medication if the dose of medication has been partially swallowed or spat out.

Receipt of Medicines

All medicines from whatever source, including medication from hospital should be recorded.

The record should show:

  • Date you got the medicine;
  • Name, strength and dosage of medicine;
  • Quantity received;
  • Expiry date;
  • Name of the child for whom medication is prescribed/purchased;
  • Your signature for receiving the medicine.

6. Safe Management of Controlled Drugs

Some children and young people are prescribed controlled drugs. Examples of controlled drugs are morphine and pethidine for pain, methadone for withdrawal and Ritalin for hyperactivity.


See also CQC information on Controlled Drugs.

7. Disposal of Medicines

A record is required to identify what happens to medication in the home. This record should show:

  • Date you finished the medicine or disposed of it/returned it to the pharmacy;
  • Name and strength of medicine;
  • Quantity taken;
  • Name of the child for whom the medicine was prescribed/purchase;
  • Your signature if you arranged disposal of the medicine.

First aid and records of all medicines that have been given will be recorded in the daily record; if advice is sought from a GP, NHS 111 or pharmacist, you should record details of the discussions. If an accident occurs, which results in a visit to GP/hospital, it should be recorded.