Guidelines for Medication Administration in Schools
Guideline #9: School and Family Relationships
9.1 Communication and Collaboration
Communication and collaboration between students, parents, and school personnel keep all informed, improve their interactions, resolve conflicts, and better utilize the school resources to help students be successful.
The best student educational and medication administration outcomes will result from communication and collaboration among all involved—students, parents/legal guardians, physicians, school health office personnel, teachers, pharmacists, health advisory committee members, school board members, and school administrators. Together, with everyone contributing his or her own part, the quality of health care decision-making and actions can be maximized.
A variety of communication methods—such as telephone, electronic, and in-person—can facilitate prompt and accurate transmittal of information. All communication, even phone contacts, should be documented. All communication with the school is subject to federal and state data privacy laws. These laws are not barriers to communication, but can be used to enhance communication by developing trust in the sharing of health and educational information. See Minnesota Guideline 1.3 Data Privacy for additional details.
Schools need to reach out to families and develop a standard mechanism for two-way communication, with language translation as needed, between parents and school personnel regarding students’ health. Examples include when medication is needed at school; when students receive medications in school, or when a scheduled medication is missed at school, or there are changes in students’ medication needs; when issues arise about reactions to new medications or medication effectiveness (e.g., a student’s educational performance changes based on a new dosage of Ritalin™); and what the alternative plans are for medication administration. Medications given outside of the school day may still affect student performance at school.
Student health plans (504 plans, ECPs, IEPs, and IHPs) can better address specific health and educational needs and can serve as the mechanism to bring everyone together for efficient planning and collaboration.
Student health documents related to communication include written, telephone, and verbal orders for medication, parents’ written and oral authorizations for medication, medication administration records (medication, date, time, who administered it, etc.), controlled substance records, and medication error notations. The LSN/RN is ultimately responsible for maintaining and securing documentation of medication administration in students’ private health records, but anyone who gives medication (LSN/RN, LPN, paraprofessional, UAP, or student) needs to chart his or her activities on student records, be knowledgeable about records, and keep them updated. The school district can standardize forms for all of its students’ health records and make blank forms available through web sites or as hard copies.
All medication administration records need to be kept secure, so when someone takes a record out of the file, it must be signed out.