Guidelines for Medication Management
Have you read the new Guidelines for Medication Management in Schools? Released in October 2015 by the New York State Education Department (NYSED), this comprehensive document can be found on the NYSED website at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/schoolhealth/schoolhealthservices/. It can also be found on the NY Statewide School Health Services website at http://www.schoolhealthservicesny.com. Click on “M” for “Medication Resources” on the A-Z index.
There is new language and guidance for students to carry and independently use medication at school. Prescribers must now provide a written attestation to the students’ ability to carry and use their medications in addition to the medication order. Parents must also sign the attestation form (a sample form and sample letters are available at http://www.schoolhealthservicesny.com). Students with specific diagnoses such as asthma, anaphylaxis, and diabetes are now protected by law to carry medication and supplies that are related to their medical conditions.
In addition to the mandatory change described above, there are some additions to the guidelines that are optional, leaving the decision to implement up to the local school districts. It is important to take time to read the options and discuss with your team before making the decision to move forward on these issues. Policies and protocols must be developed before any implementation takes place.
The first option relates to having epinephrine auto-injectors available on-site to be used by trained unlicensed individuals for undiagnosed persons suspected of having an anaphylactic reaction. Guidance regarding this optional program can be found on page 33 of the Medication Guidelines. Read the document thoroughly and discuss with school nurses, administrators, and director of school health services.
Another optional program is the opioid overdose prevention program (effective August 2015). Again, read the document, discuss with the entire team. This program can be implemented in a variety of ways and guidance for this can be found on page 35 of the medication guidelines
In addition to these changes, many practices regarding medication administration in schools have been described and clarified in this document. The guidelines are in effect now, so it is imperative that all school nurses in New York State become familiar with the changes. Here is the direct link to the document: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/documents/MedicationManagement-final2015.pdf Put it on your desktop today!