Management of Chronic Illness Policy

Introduction and School Philosophy

Dalkey School Project National School (DSP) strives to create a happy, safe, inclusive and nurturing environment where the uniqueness of each child is celebrated. We aim to provide a space where children are educated and where all members of the school community can grow, develop and achieve their full
potential. We aspire to excellence in an atmosphere of respect, openness and joy.

Inherent in this philosophy is the idea that the school environment will be as inclusive and favourable as possible for all students including those with chronic medical conditions or who are required to take medication. This goal encompasses educational, social and sporting activities, extra-curricular activities, school events and outings, organisation of the classroom and the physical environment of the school.


Chronic illness is defined as a long-term condition which can be treated and controlled but not cured (HSE Chronic Illness Framework 2008). These conditions include but are not limited to the following: Allergy, Asthma, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Heart conditions, Mental Health conditions, Metabolic conditions, Musculoskeletal Disease, Neurological conditions and Pulmonary conditions.

DSP understands that certain chronic conditions are serious and can be potentially life threatening and therefore these conditions require appropriate understanding, management and communication between the child, parents and staff of the school.

The management of Anaphylactic Allergy, Asthma, Epilepsy and Diabetes in the school is informed by the “Managing Chronic Health Conditions at School” Resource pack for teachers and parents, published jointly by The Asthma Society of Ireland, Diabetes Federation of Ireland, Brainwave Irish Epilepsy Association and Anaphylaxis Ireland which is also endorsed by the Department of Education and
Skills (DES) and the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO).

Aims and Objectives

  1. DSP endeavours to ensure that students with chronic conditions can participate as fully as possible and to the best of their abilities in all aspects of the curriculum and school activities and does its best to provide appropriate adjustments and extra support as needed.
  2. DSP understands that a student with a chronic illness may miss school or experience tiredness or lack of concentration due to their illness.
  3. Where appropriate and as desired by parents and children DSP will discuss openly and raise awareness of chronic conditions among students and strive to create a positive and supportive social environment for those with chronic conditions.
  4. DSP seeks to facilitate and support strong and frequent communication between the school and the parents of children with chronic conditions and to meet and take advice from the service providers or medical teams of such children when that is available.
  5. DSP aims to put in place, in consultation with parents, clear and detailed procedures for managing the illness in everyday life and also to plan for a reasonable and appropriate response to emergency situations.
  6. DSP has a commitment to providing training and support to staff who work directly with children with chronic illness and/or who take voluntary responsibility for the administration of medicine and for other staff, teachers and SNAs as deemed necessary and appropriate.

Parental Responsibilities

  1. Inform the school if their child has a diagnosed chronic illness that may require monitoring or medical intervention.
  2. Supply the school with medical documentation, reports etc, confirming their child’s diagnosis of a chronic illness.
  3. Provide and develop with the school a complete and detailed health care plan for managing the child’s condition in the classroom every day.
  4. Provide and develop with the school a plan for additional events, sports, outings, extracurricular activities etc. and share responsibility for communication of need to ECA instructors and other external personnel.
  5. Provide and develop with the school a plan for emergency situations.
  6. Provide all necessary medical equipment, instrumentation, medicines, supplies and disposal containers.
  7. Update in-school supplies promptly when notified by staff that they are low.
  8. Complete a Health Care Plan, Administration of Medication form and any other appropriate paperwork requested by the school.
  9. Help identify and plan for any possible risks, activities or situations that would not be suitable for the child. The goal of such a plan is to maximise inclusion of the student.
  10. Keep the school up to date on any changes in the health of the child or in how their condition is currently being managed.
  11. Be easily and readily contactable during school hours in case staff have a concern about the well-being of the child during the school day. Attend the school and if necessary take the child home in response to that concern.


  1. DSP staff who supervise or attend to children with chronic illness will aim to undertake appropriate monitoring and record keeping depending on the details of the condition.
  2. Where medication is given, or self-medication monitored, a record of such administration will be kept.
  3. Communication between school and home will be by agreement between the school, the staff involved and the parents and will depend on the age of the child and the nature of the chronic illness.
  4. DSP undertakes that staff who regularly supervise or attend to the child will be familiar with the health care plan and the emergency plan. In addition, some other members of staff will also be trained and/or aware of the plan as far as possible to cover the absence of the primary staff involved.
  5. It is the responsibility of parents to inform the school if there is a change in the plan. Plans will be reviewed at least annually at specific meetings regarding the care of the child and/or at regular parent-teacher meetings.
  6. DSP endeavours to communicate necessary information to substitute/temporary members of staff, usually via another staff member who regularly attends the child.
  7. DSP endeavours, in addition to necessary communication with parents at the start of each school year, to communicate between staff, necessary information and care plans when transitioning from one school year to the next.


  1. DSP endeavours to ensure that the needs of students with chronic conditions are adequately considered to ensure their involvement in curricular areas and activities, structured and unstructured social activities during breaks and before and after school as far as is possible, practical and
  2. DSP endeavours to ensure that the needs of students with chronic conditions are adequately considered to make sure that they have access to special events, outings, extended school activities and school excursions as far as is possible, practical and safe.
  3. DSP are aware of the potential social problems that students with chronic health conditions may experience and endeavour to be vigilant, to offer support and to prevent and deal with problems by intervention and use of the school positive behaviour policy as needed.

Exercise and Physical Activity

  1. DSP aims, as far as possible, that all teachers and external sports coaches are made aware and informed where a child has a chronic health issues and promotes all reasonable and appropriate adjustments to sports, games and other activities to make physical activity equally accessible to all our students.
  2. DSP endeavours to ensure that all teachers and external coaches understand that students with particular challenges arising from their condition should not be forced to take part in an activity if they feel unwell.
  3. DSP aims, as far as possible, that all teachers and sports coaches are aware of the potential triggers for a student’s condition when exercising and how to minimise these triggers
  4. DSP endeavours to ensure that class teachers and/or Special Needs Assistants have the appropriate food, supplies or medication with them during physical activity and that these are available to and taken by the student if needed.
  5. DSP seeks the support and co-operation of parents around the communication and management of chronic illness in extracurricular activities, school teams and off-campus sporting activities.

School Excursions

  1. Risks and conditions are considered by DSP prior to any out-of-school visit. Considerations might include how students will access the activities proposed with regard to health and safety, how routine and emergency medication will be stored and administered and where and how help can be
    obtained in an emergency. All trips off campus or immediate locality (Honey Park, Kilbogget Park) to be approved by the Principal and Board of Management.
  2. DSP understands that there may be additional medication, equipment or other factors to consider when planning tours.
  3. A parent of a child with a chronic health condition may be asked to come on an outing where the goal is to maximise the health and safety and/or the participation in and equal access to activities for the student.

Health Care Plans

  1. Parents of students will fill out an agreed Healthcare Plan (using a template provided by the school) and discuss it with the appropriate school staff. Healthcare Plan forms are based on those in the teacher and parent resource pack mentioned above.
  2. Healthcare plans will be reviewed regularly with parents usually at least annually.
  3. A copy of the Healthcare plan will be held in the Principal’s Office and in the child’s own file.
  4. All members of staff who work directly with students with chronic conditions have access to the Healthcare plans of the students in their care.
  5. DSP will aim to ensure that substitute and temporary teachers are made aware of and have access to the Healthcare plans of students in their care, usually via another member of staff who works regularly with the child.
  6. DSP endeavours to ensure that all staff protect student dignity and confidentiality at all times.
  7. DSP seeks permission from parents to allow the Healthcare plan to be sent ahead to emergency staff should an emergency happen during school hours or at a school activity after classroom hours. This permission is included on the Healthcare Plan.

Storage and Administration of Medication

DSP has clear guidance on the administration and storage of medication and necessary equipment at our school. DSP understands the importance of medication being taken as prescribed and the need for safe storage and disposal of medication and medical supplies.

  1. Emergency medication is accessible and a reasonable cohort of staff members are aware of its location.
  2. DSP understands the importance of medication being taken as prescribed.
  3. Staff are aware that there is no legal or contractual duty to administer or to supervise a student taking medication. However a member of staff who is willing to do so proceeds under controlled guidelines which should include a written agreement countersigned by the parents/guardians and approved by the Principal and the Board of Management.
  4. Parents/Guardians at DSP understand that if their child’s medication changes or is discontinued, they should notify the school immediately in writing to update their child’s Healthcare Plan. DSP will confirm the changes are incorporated into the plan.
  5. Staff or other parents attending tours/off site activities, as far as possible and as reasonably required, will be made aware of any students with chronic conditions on the visit. They may receive information about the type of condition, what to do in an emergency and any other additional support necessary.
  6. If a student misuses medication, either their own or another student’s, their parents are informed as soon as possible. These students are subject to the school’s usual disciplinary procedures.
  7. All medicines and supplies to be clearly labelled with the child’s name.
  8. All medications are stored in accordance with the instructions and staff check that medicines being administered are in date.
  9. Student’s medication that needs to be refrigerated will be stored in an airtight container clearly labelled with the student’s name and class.
  10. All medication is sent home with parents at the end of the year. Medication is not stored at the school during the holiday period.
  11. It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to ensure new and in date medication comes into school on the first day of each new school year and after medical appointments should the child’s medication be changed or adjusted.

Safe Disposal

  1. Parents at DSP are asked to ensure that they collect all out of date medication for disposal. Staff will aim to notify parents if they become aware of out of date medication or low supplies.
  2. Parents must provide DSP with a sharps box if necessary for disposal of needles, gloves, etc. All sharp boxes are stored in a safe place and secure arrangements are put in place for their supply and removal on a case by case basis.
  3. If a sharps box is needed on an off-site visit a named member of staff is responsible for its safe storage, use and return.
  4. Collection and disposal of sharps boxes is arranged by the parents.
  5. Used Adrenalin auto injectors should be given to the ambulance crew.

Emergency Situations

Emergency situations at DSP are covered by the Critical Incident Policy in addition to this policy. Staff at DSP understand their duty of care to students in the event of an emergency and their expected requirement to act like any reasonable prudent parent in implementing the relevant Emergency Plan.
Detailed plans for specific students are drawn up by the school team in consultation with parents and medical providers and copies are made available to all relevant staff.

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