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Medication management in education and care services

This page outlines how schools, preschools and other education and care services must manage, store and administer medication for children and students in their care. It also covers training requirements for staff. 

‘Medication’ refers to any: 

  • prescribed or non-prescribed medication
  • over the counter medications    
  • alternative therapies (vitamins, minerals, supplements).

Education and care service staff can only administer medication:

  • orally 
  • optically (eye drops) 
  • aurally (ear drops)
  • inhaled
  • topically.

Agreements and plans

Medication agreement

You cannot administer medication until a medication agreement is in place. 

The medication agreement can cover any medication except controlled drugs, oxygen, insulin or regular administration of pain relief.

A legal guardian or adult student must complete either a medication agreement (DOC 132KB), or a multiple medication agreement (DOC 142KB) if they need multiple medications.

Principals, preschool directors and others authorised to administer medication must complete an authorisation to administer controlled medicines form (150 KB) to make sure all accountability requirements are understood by the education or care service, and the staff member or adult student authorised to administer the medication.

Health support agreement

If a child or student requires administration of medication, you may also need a health support agreement (DOC 121KB) and safety and risk management plan (DOC 131KB).

Use the guide to planning health support and consult with the child or student’s parent or legal guardian when developing a health support agreement.

Individual first aid plan

If a child or student has a known health condition and the first aid response is not the standard first aid response for that health condition, ask their treating health professional to complete an individual first aid plan (DOC 143KB).

Self-administration of medication

Principals or preschool directors can use the decision making tool for medication administration (DOC 157KB) to help them decide if a child or student can carry and self-administer medication. 

Controlled medicines register

All controlled medications kept at your education or care service must be documented in the controlled and restricted medicines register (DOC 205KB).

Administering medication

Before administering any medication, you must:

  1. use the medication administration flowchart to decide if and when a child needs medication administered
  2. follow the medication rights checklist (DOC 152KB)

After administering any medication, you must:

  1. document the incident in the medication log (DOC 143KB)
  2. complete the medication advice form (DOC 150KB) and give it to the parent or legal guardian.

Emergency response

In an emergency, staff must follow standard emergency response procedures. 

A designated first aider, trained in HLTAID004 Emergency First Aid Response in an Education and Care Settings, must be immediately available at all times to administer first aid and emergency response medication whenever needed.

Adrenaline autoinjectors and asthma reliever puffers may be administered as a first aid emergency response to any child, young person, staff or visitor.

General use medications such as aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen must never be used for first aid as they can mask signs and symptoms or serious illness or injury.

Medication error or incident

If a child or student has:

  • collapsed or is not breathing, phone 000 (ambulance) immediately and follow standard first aid
  • been administered the incorrect dose or incorrect medication and there is no immediate adverse reaction, phone Poisons Information Centre on 131 126 and follow the advice given
  • if the advice is to keep them at the education or care service, increase their supervision and monitor them for any delayed adverse reactions.

Follow the medication error, incident, query or advice flowchart for all other incidents.

For each incident, you must:

  1. notify the parent or legal guardian
  2. document the incident in the medication log 
  3. complete a medication advice form and forward to parent or legal guardian
  4. report on Incident and Response Management System (IRMS) (staff login required)
  5. review medication management and administration procedures at your education or care service to identify areas for improvement.

Medication advice

Your local pharmacy or the Women’s and Children’s Hospital pharmacy can assist with non-urgent medication information and advice:

  • Email: medinfo [at] sa.gov.au 
  • Phone: 8161 7555.

Training and education

Emergency first aid training

Education and care services must have at least one designated first aider trained in HLTAID004 Emergency First Aid Response in an Education and Care Settings. 

Paediatric medication training

Women’s and Children’s Hospital Disability Services have an online learning paediatric medication tool to support staff in the safe management and administration of medicines in a community setting (including in education and care services). 

Basic medication management training

The Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) provide basic training in medication management optional for education and care staff. 

Specialised training for certain medications


Adrenaline autoinjectors

Adrenaline is emergency medication for the treatment of anaphylaxis. 

Emergency response for anaphylaxis is included in the HLTAID004 Emergency First Aid Response training.

All staff should complete the ASCIA free e-training course on anaphylaxis management in education and care services.


Insulin

Insulin is used to manage blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. 

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital Endocrinology and Diabetes Department provides training and advice. Phone 8161 6402.


Intranasal midazolam (INM)

INM is emergency medication for treating seizures. 

All staff should complete INM administration training through Epilepsy Action Australia or the Australian Red Cross INM administration training.


Oxygen

Oxygen is often used as an emergency medication. 

Where a child or young person has been prescribed or requires oxygen they must be referred to the Access Assistant Program (AAP) or RN Delegation of Care Program.


Salbutamol (Ventolin puffers) 

Salbutamol is medication used to treat an asthma attack

Emergency response for asthma is in included in the HLTAID004 Emergency First Aid Response training.

All staff should complete the Asthma Australia free online course Asthma First Aid for Schools.


Disability and Complex Needs Team

Phone: 8226 0515
Email: education.health [at] sa.gov.au