Purpose of this policy
To ensure schools store and administer medication correctly. This topic relates to all medications including prescription and non-prescription medication.
- have a medication management policy that:
- outlines the school’s processes and protocols
- is communicated to the school community
- protect student privacy and confidentiality to avoid any stigmatisation
- ensure teachers abide by their duty of care by assisting students to take their medication where appropriate.
- ensure all medication to be administered is:
- accompanied by written advice providing directions for appropriate storage and administration
- in the original bottle or container clearly labelled with the name of the student, dosage and time to be administered
- within its expiry date
- stored according to the product instructions, particularly in relation to temperature
- encourage parents/guardians to consider whether they can administer medication outside the school day, such as before and after school and before bed.
Policy template for schools
A downloadable policy template for Victorian government schools is available on the intranet, see: Medication Schools can modify the template to suit their local circumstances.
Authority to administer
This table describes how schools obtain authority to administer medication.
Written advice and directions
Schools should obtain written advice on a Medication Authority Form for all medication to be administered by the school. The form should be completed by the student’s medical/health practitioner ensuring that the medication is warranted. However if this advice cannot be provided the principal may agree that the form can be completed by parents/guardians or adult/independent students (see:
Note: Medication to treat asthma or anaphylaxis does not need to be accompanied by the Medication Authority Form as it is covered in student’s health plan.
Related policies for:
- Health Support Planning forms.
School should get:
- clarification about medication from the parents/guardians or adult/independent student, who may need to contact the prescribing medical/health practitioner.
- general information relating to safe medication practices, ensuring that the identity of the individual student is not provided to local or hospital pharmacists.
The principal, or their nominee must ensure:
- that the correct student receives:
- their correct medication
- in the proper dose
- via the correct method, such as inhaled or orally
- at the correct time of day
- a log is kept of medicine administered
- teachers in charge of students at the time their medication is required:
- are informed that the student needs to be medicated
- release the student from class to obtain their medication.
A medication log or an equivalent official medications register should be used by the person administrating the taking of medicine. Good practice is to have two staff members:
- supervising the administration of medication
- checking the information noted on the medication log.
Schools can observe and document behaviours for the student’s medical/health practitioner.
Note: It is not the school’s role to:
- interpret behaviour in relation to a medical condition
- monitor the effects of medication.
A Medication Administration Log is available on the School Policy Template Portal, see: Medication
Schools should not:
- store or administer analgesics such as aspirin and paracetamol as a standard first aid strategy as they can mask signs and symptoms of serious illness or injury
- allow a student to take their first dose of a new medication at school in case of an allergic reaction. This should be done under the supervision of the family or health practitioner.
- allow use of medication by anyone other than the prescribed student.
Note: Only in a life threatening emergency could this requirement be varied. For example, if a student is having an asthma attack and their own blue reliever puffer is not readily available, one should be obtained and given without delay.
For information on specialised medical procedures such as injections or rectal valium see:
Complex Medical Care Support.
Schools should consult with parents/guardians or adult/independent students and the student’s medical/health practitioner to determine the age and circumstances by which the student could self-administer their medication.
The school should obtain written permission from the medical/health practitioner or the parents/guardians, preferably in the Medication Authority Form for the student to carry their medication. This is not required for students with Asthma or Anaphylaxis as this is covered under ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis and the Asthma Foundation’s Asthma Care Plan for Schools.
Ideally, the self administered medication should be stored by the school. However where immediate access is required by the student such as in cases of asthma, anaphylaxis or diabetes the medication must be stored in an easily accessible location.
Also at the principal’s discretion, students can carry their own medication with them, preferably in the original bottle, when:
- the medication does not have special storage requirements, such as refrigeration
- doing so does not create potentially unsafe access to the medication by other students.
Schools should ensure:
- medication is stored for the period of time specified in the written instructions received
- the quantity of medication provided does not exceed a week’s supply, except in long-term continuous care arrangements
- medication is stored:
- securely to minimise risk to others
- in a place only accessible by staff who are responsible for administering the medication
- away from the classroom
- away from the first aid kit.
This table describes how schools respond when a student has taken medicine incorrectly.
If required, follow first aid procedures outlined in the:
- Student Health Support Plan, or
- Anaphylaxis Management Plan.
See: Related policies for:
- Health Care Needs.
Poisons information Line, 13 11 26 and give details of the incident and student.
Act immediately upon their advice, such as calling an ambulance, on 000, immediately if you are advised to do so.
Contact the parents/guardians or the emergency contact person to notified them of the medication error and action taken.
Review medication management procedures at the school in light of the incident.
Working with Children Act 2005
To access the following resources, see the School Policy Template Portal at:
- Medication Administration Log
- Medication Authority Form