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What Would You Do?


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Hi there,

 

While I was on study leave this morning the following incident occurred at my setting. Junior member of staff from another room walked in and opened a cupboard where a child's Ventolin inhaler is stored. When challenged she told acting supervisor that she needed it as hers was at home. Supervisor said 'no' and told manager of her decision. Staff member later gleefully informed supervisor that manager had watched her use the inhaler. Am very disappointed at this gross disregard for procedure. Needless to say, had the person been in severe breathing difficulties she would have been attended to. (By the way, she smokes too).

 

Am I over reacting?

What do you think?

 

Lesley :oxD

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no i dont think you are over reacting - its a terrible disregard to all proceedures you must have there. why did the manager overrule the room supervisor - must make her feel like her word means nothing too.

what will you do tomorrow?

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what will you do tomorrow?

I have written an incident report, since both the acting supervisor and another staff member informed me of this, and addressed it to the manager. I have also suggested that we store all such inhalers under lock and key in the office. That way I will have something in writing. I would expect her to give me a suitable explanation. If not I will consider taking it further with the owners.

 

Lesley

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well done you - but having the inhalers under lock and key would maybe cause a health and safety issue - if they wre needed urgently would they be accessible easily and quickly ?

I was thinking exactly the same thing - we have just one child who uses an inhaler, also has an epipen - these are kept out of reach but never locked away.

 

Sunnyday

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I think this warrants formal warnings to both members of staff involved.The child's medication should NOT have been used for anyone else...............has the parent of the child been informed??has the inhaler been sterilised..........this person is a smoker too, so doubly important that it is sterilised.If I were the parent of the child involved I would raise hell over this and would almost certainly make a formal complaint to the committee/or owner AND ofsted.I don't think it's an over-reaction to say this is gross negligence................after all, how often has this pesron done it before, and she is putting the child's health at risk too, as who knows how much medication is left in an inhaler.....she might have used up what the child needed.If she's stupid enough to leave her own inhaler at home, then she should have been sent home to collect it, without pay, until she returned. I have no doubt at all in my own mind that I would issue a formal warning for this on the grounds of gross misconduct.

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much that I understand your annoyance at the member of staff and the handling of the situation I would advise against locking medication away, considering a real emegency could require quick thinking and fumbling with keys could delay treatment

 

write a policy but keep medication accessible

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Hi there,

 

While I was on study leave this morning the following incident occurred at my setting. Junior member of staff from another room walked in and opened a cupboard where a child's Ventolin inhaler is stored. When challenged she told acting supervisor that she needed it as hers was at home. Supervisor said 'no' and told manager of her decision. Staff member later gleefully informed supervisor that manager had watched her use the inhaler. Am very disappointed at this gross disregard for procedure. Needless to say, had the person been in severe breathing difficulties she would have been attended to. (By the way, she smokes too).

 

Am I over reacting?

What do you think?

 

Lesley :oxD

 

Other peoples medication should never be used on anyone else, willingly or unwillingly!

Has the child's parents been informed that the inhaler has been used?

This is a clear breach of cross contamination procedures also!

These are clear breaches in the medication policues that should be in place at all settings.

I would report this to the manager if ignored esculate to the owner and if necessary Ofsted should be informed.

 

The staff member is very much out of order and should should be made aware of this.

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Er - coming at it from another angle, I have an inhaler and happily allow others (who have it prescribed - I hasten to add) to use it. I was told at a H&S training, and at a First Aid training that we can use someone else's inhaler if there is a real need. The mouthpieces are easily washed - sterilised if you prefer, but the benefits to the person in need outweigh any risks if hygiene is adhered to. Sorry

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Hi there,

 

Yes, I agree keeping it locked away might be a bad idea. After all, it has been safe enough in the cupboard up till now. Can't tell you how furious I am. These things always happen when I am away! I imagine the parents would be appalled. I will make sure everything is sterilised tomorrow. I only found out this evening and it was only because I phoned someone to ask about something else.

Thanks for your advice. As ever, really helpful.

 

:o

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I know that I am going to put the cat among the pigions but hey here I go.

 

On the first aid course that i took recently stated that if you know that someone has asthma then you are neglecting them by not giving them the inhaler as they all contain the same medication and it is just the number of puffs that you take that effects the dose. I am not sure how this works as it has never hapened in my setting but it is something that i know that i need to find out by myself.

 

Not sure if it was just the trainers personal thoughts or if it something that others have also heard.

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Er - coming at it from another angle, I have an inhaler and happily allow others (who have it prescribed - I hasten to add) to use it. I was told at a H&S training, and at a First Aid training that we can use someone else's inhaler if there is a real need. The mouthpieces are easily washed - sterilised if you prefer, but the benefits to the person in need outweigh any risks if hygiene is adhered to. Sorry

 

Hi Cait i understand your angle but first aid is just that - immediate care until medical attention arrives. If you give anyone else medication that is not prescribed to them, you may find yourself in a court of law if it goes wrong. I would seriously consideer your posistion you cannot give and adult a tablet under their tonge to help in heart attack situations you can persude the casualty to do this themselves for same reasons as above. Parents give their written permission for you to administer prescribed medication to theor children and thus placing you in the position of loco parentas and covered under law. But if you have been told this on your trining you should clarify this with one of them many national organisations out there.

 

Medication should never be shared.

 

Is the manager not responsible for the medical well being of staff under their employ? We dont just deal with children in settings we have obligations to staff also and a policy should be in place. A formal warning is the very least that should happen here to both the staff member and any one else that condoned the action. The parent should be informed of the indicident and informed actin has been taken under three breaches of the welfare requirements.

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Im not so normally passionate about stuff like this but in another life I am a first aid trainer for trainers!

 

So dont take it personally please :)

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Sorry me again I thought that in the EYFS document it states that medication should be locked away, not sure my brain is starting to go to mush I will see if I can find the quote

In the revised edition - May 2008

 

- 'Medicines which may be needed quickly in an emergency should not be locked away'

 

Sunnyday

Edited by sunnyday
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Im not so normally passionate about stuff like this but in another life I am a first aid trainer for trainers!

 

So dont take it personally please :)

 

Cat amoungst - if the staff member was skipping in i would be also considering how much this was attention seeking - just a thought?

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And to throw another spanner in the works, say this employee had used the child's inhaler and then there was insufficient medication for when the child next needed the inhaler? This is probably unlikely, but is it technically possible? I'm sure the group would be in serious trouble if this ever happened.

 

I had a look on the asthma UK website, their FAQ about pre-school settings said this:-

 

Q Should groups have one emergency reliever inhaler so they don’t have to keep a lot of spares?

 

A Asthma UK would like to see an emergency reliever inhaler and spacer kept in every group, accompanied by a clear protocol on how and when to use it. However, current law states that each inhaler is prescribed for an individual patient only and cannot be used by anyone else.

 

Click here to download some useful documents.

 

Also, I wonder if the parent's permission was sought for the member of staff to use the child's inhaler? It is absolutely fine for Cait to give permission for someone to use her inhaler if they didn't have theirs, or for a parent to give permission for someone to use their own child's inhaler. I'm not sure we in the setting have the right to make this kind of decision about using another chlild's inhaler - and I also worry about the effect it might have on a setting's insurance policy if it was known that this kind of practice was going on.

 

Really there are so many issues here and potential for legal difficulties - in Brownies if we have a child to arrives without their inhaler we have to send them home to get one. In nursery we have a spare inhaler and spacer for a child who needs one, and I would suggest that the staff member provides a spare inhaler to be kept at work if she finds it difficult to remember hers every day.

 

Will watch this one with interest!

 

Maz

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Why does nhe member of staff not keep an inhailer for emergencies at nursery herself.

I dont feel it is good practice to allow staff to use a child's inhailer willy nilly, I presonally would be horrified if I found out that a member of staff and a smoker had used the same inhailer as my child.

If we allow procedures such as this to be disreguarded then it leaves open the door so to speak for further breaks in procedure.

Edited by Guest
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Thanks everyone! Have downloaded the useful link HappyMaz. I will take it in tomorrow and discuss with team. Glad this issue has come up as we have been quite concerned anyway about using inhalers and we need a robust protocol on exactly how to deal with them. We have two children - occasionally three - who keep them at the setting.

 

I think it is an excellent idea to have a spare one for this member of staff. Perhaps an extra spare one for emergencies too.

 

As you all say, there are many issues involved here.

Thanks for all your helpful advice.

 

Lesley :o

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Have downloaded the useful link HappyMaz.

The asthma website has a lot of resources to support groups in managing children's asthma in their settings - very comprehensive indeed.

 

I really think it is up to the staff member to provide her own inhaler, and as you said Lesley, a spare in case of emergencies too. As jojom said, if we begin to break our own policies because it is convenient to do so, then why should we expect our parents to accept that other policies can't be broken either? I really think this is a good time to use one of my favourite cliches - it is the thin end of the wedge, I fear!

 

Maz

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I really think it is up to the staff member to provide her own inhaler, and as you said Lesley, a spare in case of emergencies too.

 

 

Our GP always makes sure that we have two ventolin inhalers - one just carry around with us or keep in work. I've never known a GP/asthma nurse not suggest having a spare. Yup it costs me an extra £7+ but to know that it is there just in case is quite reassuring. It's the same with my epipens - they always prescribe two - you never know when you might need one.

 

One thing I would suggest is to check regularly is the Best Before/Expiry dates - it's surprising how quick that they come round!

 

L

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If she was having a proper asthma attack I could accept her using the pump to gain relief and if she used the spacer then that's easy to sterilise, but I'd be furious to find out my child's inhaler had been used because it was 'available'. If the inhaler is not used regularly it is hard to gauge it's life, if someone else uses it regularly, like others have said, the possible vital dose might have already been used. I would definitely raise the question of how often this has occurred before and like Narnia said raise absolute bloody hell and inform Ofsted. My youngest has asthma attacks that come on so suddenly that his pumps are crucial to administer immediate relief, usually on the way to hospital so he can be pumped full of steroids and put on an nebuliser. These attacks only happen two or three times a year but the thought of his pumps being used up when he needs them most absolutely terrifies me.

Karrie

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I was assuming it was a proper, serious asthma attack. If it's not and she's just a little breathless then there's no justification. We regularly check the contents of the inhalers and spinhalers to ensure that we don't get critical. We've had some very dramatic very serious life-threatening incidents so we're aware of the potential of asthma

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as someone who has asthma, to not be able to breath is awfu an horredous feeling, people do die from asthma attacks

 

the staff member should have gone to managment first

 

as a first aider i would not be doing the right thing by preventing someone from being able to use an inhaler that they so clearly needed

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