First Aid and Medication

Standards & Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:


  1. Introduction
  2. First Aid
  3. Home Remedies
  4. Medicines
  5. Disposal of Medicines
  6. Hospitalisation
  7. MMR Vaccine
  8. Childhood Illnesses/Health
  9. Serious Illness/Injury of a Child in Foster Care
  10. Death of a Child in 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. 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 Fostering 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 vomit;
  • 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

The Placement Plan should outline the home remedies that may be given to a child including any consent of the parent, the child if over 16 or after consulting with the child's GP.

Home Remedies are medicines that can be bought over the counter without prescription, including Paracetamol, Aspirin, homeopathic, herbal, aromatherapy, vitamin supplements or alternative therapies.

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.

Advice should be given to a child/young person if they purchase/obtain home remedy medication/drugs. A record should be made of this advice.

4. 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 is correct;
  • Give the medicine in accordance with the instructions;
  • Record when you give the medicine including the date, time, how much, and sign;
  • 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.

See Administration Medication Form (MAR FC01).

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.

You should record how the medication should be stored i.e. refrigerated.

You should be aware of the purpose of the medication and a date should be clear when the child's medication is to be reviewed and by which medical practitioner.

Should a child wish to manage their own medication - a child/young person has the right to confidentiality if the medical practitioner is assured the child/young person is competent to make that decision/choice i.e. in the case of contraception. Where possible an agreement should be sought with the child/young person and their social worker in respect of the child managing their own medication.

Start of Placement

The Medicines Administration Record will be completed by the child’s social worker at the Placement Planning Meeting (with the child’s parent and/or child/young person whenever possible) and attached to a copy of the Placement Information Record (Placement Plan). All sections of the form must be completed, or if not applicable, marked as such.

Any medication which is sent from home or the previous placement must be carefully noted, including the quantity. Non-prescribed medicine which may be administered if necessary must be discussed and noted at the outset.

Parent and foster carer should sign the form at the outset of the placement. Any additional notes or comments about administration of medicines, including any precautions or side effects, will be completed at the start, and at the end of the placement.

During the Placement

Refusal of medication or any errors in administration must be carefully recorded by the foster carer, along with the details of the parent of health professional notified.

You will complete details of any emergency medication administered and record who was notified, and when. Additional medication needed whilst a child is in placement will be obtained after consultation with the parent/social worker and named local GP and dispensed by the named local pharmacist. It should meet the criteria set out above. Any medication administered during the course of the placement must also be noted, along with any medication prescribed or purchased for the child.

End of Placement

The quantity of prescribed and/or non prescribed medication remaining at the end of the placement will be noted by the child’s social worker. Additional comments will be completed by you or child’s social worker where necessary.

The final set of signatures should be made by you and the parent, or if the child is not returning home, the next carer or respite staff member. Further detailed guidance for foster carers regarding storage of medication etc. is given in Kent’s Children’s Social Services, Policy & Guidance, “Management and Administration of medication” (link to follow).

This is essential reading for all Foster Carers.

5. 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 are got rid of it/return 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.

6. Hospitalisation

You must inform the child’s social worker and the birth parents immediately if a child requires hospital treatment. Except in an emergency, admission to hospital will require the consent of those with Parental Responsibility.

7. MMR Vaccine

Kent is committed to the children in its care receiving immunisations appropriate to their age. It is Kent’s policy that children should receive an MMR vaccine except where medical advice for individual children suggests that this should not happen. However, where Kent does not hold Parental Responsibility, the parents’ views will take precedence.

8. Childhood Illnesses/Health

The NHS website contains useful information and advice in relation to children’s health.

Kent County Council endeavours to ensure that you are provided with current advice regarding prevention of the transmission of blood-borne diseases, such as Hepatitis and HIV, in caring for children.

9. Serious Illness/Injury of a Child in Foster Care

If a child or young person is found seriously ill or injured, First Aid principles must be followed and an ambulance called. You must remain with the child/young person at all times, including attendance at hospital. You must take responsibility either yourself or by delegating this responsibility to another responsible adult for:

  • Informing the child’s social worker, Team Manager, Duty work or out-of-hours service;
  • Agreeing with the child’s social worker (or their representative) how relatives are to be informed and by whom;
  • Informing the Fostering Service;
  • Notifying the child’s GP;
  • Ensuring that others in the foster home are aware (as appropriate) of the situation.

A written record must be made as soon as possible after the incident detailing the nature of the emergency, those involved and the action taken.

10. Death of a Child in Foster Care

To be read in conjunction with the Significant Events and Notifications.

If a Child in Care is found/believed to be dead, following preliminary checks to ensure that they are dead, nothing should be touched or moved. The body must not be touched, moved or interfered with in any way.

Individuals may not have the experience or qualifications to confirm that a child/young person is dead and therefore an ambulance and the Police should be called immediately.

Notifications should then be made immediately to:

  • The child’s social worker, Team Manager, Duty Worker or out-of-hours service;
  • Agreement must be reached with the child’s social worker or their representative about how and who will inform the child’s birth family;
  • The Fostering Service;
  • The child’s GP.

A written record must be made as soon as possible after the incident detailing the nature of the event, those involved and the action taken.

Should such an incident occur, discussions will take place with the Fostering Service about the level and nature of support required by you and members of your family.