Schoolcare program

The Schoolcare program is a service run in partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).

The program provides specialist training to school staff who have frequent and ongoing responsibility for the student’s complex medical support needs while they are attending school.

Training takes place twice per year.

Eligibility requirements for the Schoolcare program

The program is available for students who would not be able to attend school without the procedure being performed by appropriately trained staff.

Procedures for which the Schoolcare program provides training for include:

Tube feeding (nasogastric or gastrostomy feeding)
  • infection control
  • use of correct methods to check position of nasogastric tube
  • administration of correct volumes of feed at regular intervals, at correct rate and temperature, specific to the individual child
  • use of feeding pump as needed
  • making sure stomach is empty of excess air
  • cleaning of equipment.
Tracheostomy care
  • infection control
  • use of correct humidification
  • ensuring clear airway and using suction and saline as needed
  • ability to effect efficient tube change if unable to be cleared of blockage
  • implementation of emergency procedures around respiratory needs as needed.
Suctioning
  • infection control
  • knowledge of when to suction and why
  • use of correct suctioning technique for the specific child
  • awareness of specific types of mucus and reporting abnormalities to relevant people
  • prevention of complications of incorrect suction procedure—vomiting, aspiration and damage to mucous membrane.
Oxygen therapy
  • maintenance of oxygen supply and tube patency
  • maintenance of skin integrity, in the case of nasal cannulas and face masks
  • making sure appropriate humidification
  • observation of child’s general health status and adjustment of oxygen level according to set criteria
  • awareness of dangers of oxygen therapy and prevention of complications
  • change of oxygen cylinders as needed.
Stoma care*
  • ileostomy and colostomy management
  • regular emptying of pouch
  • changing of pouch as needed
  • adequate protection of the stoma
  • appropriate surrounding skin care management
  • complete flange changes, as needed.

*If stoma care is the sole medical need of the child this will not be eligible for Schoolcare and will need referral to Stomal Therapy, at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

The Schoolcare program does not provide training where the sole medical need of the student includes seizure management, diabetes management, stoma care or catheterisation.

Schools don’t have to access specialist training from the Schoolcare program. This can be sourced from local health service providers or from appropriately qualified nurses in specialist schools.

Referrals to the Schoolcare Program

Referrals must be completed with the student’s parent/carer(s) and medical practitioner.

The school must submit the referral making sure the following is complete:

  • parent/carer(s) consent
  • student details
  • school details
  • all relevant medical information
  • signatures and dates.

We collect relevant health information about the student through the referral process, and provide this information to the RCH. The referral form outlines instructions for application, timelines, parent information, privacy information and collection of medical information.

If eligible, we will contact your school to organise a time for training.

The RCH will develop a specific care plan for the student. RCH nurses will attend your school and provide specialist training to nominated school staff.

The nominated school staff then provide interventional medical care to the student when they are at school, consistent with the care plan.

If the referral is not appropriate for the Schoolcare program, the school will be given advice about other support available.

Guidelines and referral form

For more information and to make a referral to the Schoolcare program, see:

More information

For information about the program, schools may contact:

Department of Education and Training, Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division.
Phone: 7022 2122
Email: schoolcare.program@edumail.vic.gov.au