Medication Administration Guidelines for Nannies
July 22, 2012 | in Nannies
During your career as a nanny, there will be times when you may have to administer medication to your charges. Whether you’re treating a chronic condition that requires daily dosage or the occasional illness that can be battled with over-the-counter meds, it’s absolutely essential that you follow the medication’s directions to the letter, as well as adhere to a few common-sense guidelines to prevent injury to your child or accidentally enraging your employers. As more news stories center around caregivers that deliberately administer medicine to their charges in order to make them drowsy and less active, it’s becoming more important than ever that a childcare provider avoid even the slightest hint of scandal.
Never Administer Any Medication Without Consent
If your charge has a condition that must be medicated every day and you’ve already been instructed on how to administer the medication, calling to make sure that it’s okay to administer each dose might be overkill. However, that is absolutely the only situation in which you should ever give a child any medication without first discussing it with his parents. Medicating a fever, cold or allergy symptoms with an over-the-counter medication can provide a quick fix, but it may also be against your employer’s wishes to use such substances without a doctor’s advice to do so, or without being able to evaluate the situation themselves first. Should your charge become feverish or appear to have other symptoms of an illness, you should contact your employer to report those symptoms and ask if they would like for you to administer any medication, rather than taking matters into your own hands. It is wise to request permission in writing for the administration of daily or occasional medications to prevent any possibility of disputes in the future.
Follow All Directions Carefully
More than fifty percent of avoidable deaths in children under the age of five are caused by incorrectly administered medication; there’s no such thing as being too cautious when it comes to these chemical substances and the welfare of your charges. If your employer has given you permission to administer medication to their child, it’s imperative that you explicitly follow the dosage instructions. For babies, even a slight overage can cause unpleasant or dangerous side effects, so double-check liquid measurements before administering the medication and be sure to use the proper dosing device. Dosage schedules must be strictly adhered to, as well; administering a second dose of any medication before the suggested amount of time has elapsed is asking for trouble.
Keep a Dosage Log
In order to ensure that there’s no confusion regarding the last administered dose of a medication, it’s wise for both you and your employers to keep a log in which all dosage information is entered. With a glance, you’ll know when the last dose was administered, how much it was, and who delivered the dose, eliminating the chance of either you or your employer administering a second dose too early.
Be Aware of Any Possible Side Effects
Depending on the medication and the condition that it’s intended to treat, there is a wide array of possible side effects. Because some of them can be signs of complications or are dangerous in and of themselves, it’s vitally important that you’re aware of any that have been reported as a result of using the medication. Additionally, some side effects can make a normally safe situation, like going out in the sun, dangerous for a child; in order to ensure that you’re prepared for any outcome as a result of administering a new medication, you must be well informed.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
As the old adage goes, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Keeping that in mind is important when you’re dealing with children that are not your own; even typically-easygoing parents can become quite upset when they feel that their child has received care that they didn’t authorize, or are being cared for in a manner that doesn’t jive with their chosen parenting style. By asking any questions that you feel are relevant, you can ensure both the safety of your charges and the satisfaction of your employer.
Finally, it’s also essential that you have the correct tools to do your job properly and are set up for success; this means that you should have a specially-designed spoon for administering liquid medication, a thermometer, and a pill-splitter for older children. If your employers don’t keep these items on hand, they’re relatively inexpensive and are great investments for any nanny or childcare provider. You should also keep all medications out of kids’ reach, and make sure that you have the phone number for poison control, the doctor, and the local pharmacy on hand in the event of an unfortunate mishap.← What Nannies Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation | 10 Technologies That Could Have Saved Rapunzel →
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