What is a Health Care Plan?
An Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP) is used in education to detail exactly what sort of care a child needs at school if they have a medical condition. Individual healthcare plans do not have to be created for every child they’re only needed for children with complex medical needs. Individual Health Care Plans are developed in partnership between the school, parents, pupils, and the relevant healthcare professional who can advise on a child’s case. The aim is to ensure that schools know how to support your child effectively and to provide clarity about what needs to be done, when and by whom.
IHPs are designed for children with both physical and mental health conditions. It details what medical needs a child has and how they should be treated. The Children and Families Act 2014 ensures that children with medical needs are supported to give them the best quality of life at school.
The purpose of an IHP is to help school staff support children with medical conditions, offering them the same opportunities as every other child. Plans should be kept confidential and should be reviewed at a date set by parents and school staff in charge of the child’s care plan. It is recommended that plans are reviewed at least once a year, but if deemed necessary they should happen more frequently (depending on the child’s specific medical needs).
There is not a strict set of criteria which determines whether or not your child should have an IHP, it is up to the school’s headteacher to decide if they need one. Common medical needs that require an IHP are; asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and allergies, but there are many other conditions where a child may require a plan.
IHPs should be made with the child’s best interest in mind. Each child is an individual who copes differently with various medical conditions. One child with the same medical condition as another may require an IHP whereas the other child doesn’t.
An IHP should include:
- Child’s details – name, address, date of birth, class
- Details about their condition – description, symptoms
- Daily requirements – what medication they require and dosage, ie asprin, inhaler as well as any dietary needs
- Who will administer medication – who provides support and care
- Side effects of medication
- Family Contact information – names, contact numbers, address, relationship to the child
- GP and Hospital contact numbers & names
- Medical emergency – what action to take, who to contact
- Date of when the plan was created and when it is next reviewed
- IHPs should aim to provide any necessary information about how to best care for the child and what to do in emergency situations, so no information is bad information.
In some cases, depending on the child, their age and various other attributes some students will manage their own medical needs. Each individual will be assessed and the IHP will document whether the child carries their own medication to administer themselves. If a child does not want this responsibility, then staff should support them until they are able to do so on their own.
A IHP is a document which is drawn up involving people who may be required to contribute to a child’s care whilst at school. This could include, but not limited to, child, parent, GP, health professional, head teacher, class teacher, care or support staff or any member of staff who might need to provide medical care or emergency care to the child the plan is in place for.
The plan is intended to set out what sort of support the child needs to participate in school life including physical education and school trips just like other children. Some children with medical conditions may be considered to be disabled under the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010. Where this is the case governing bodies must comply with their duties under that Act.
It’s a written document that specifies what sort of help the school can provide for your child – for example, what medicines they can administer, and what to do in a medical emergency. Healthcare plans should be kept confidential, but your child’s school will need to share the information with anyone who might need to deal with an emergency involving your child (for example, midday supervisors who monitor the dining hall and playground at lunchtime). The headteacher should discuss who will need to see the plan with you (and your child, if they are old enough to understand).
Individual healthcare plans are not the same as education, health and care plans (EHCPs), which set out the support needed by children with special educational needs, although some children may have both types of plan.