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 - the decision as to whether a child needs one falls to the headteacher.
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 & 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, DOB, class
- Details about their condition - description, symptoms
- Daily requirements - what medication they require, 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 & 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.