Intimate Care Policy
Intimate Care Policy
Intimate care is any care which involves washing, touching or carrying out an invasive procedure (such as cleaning up a pupil after they have soiled themselves) to intimate personal areas. In most cases such care will involve cleaning for hygiene purposes as part of a staff member’s duty of care.
The issue of intimate care is a sensitive one and will require staff to be respectful of a child’s needs and any child protection issues. A child's dignity should always be preserved with a high level of privacy, choice and control. Staff behaviour must be open to scrutiny and staff must work in partnership with parents/carers to provide continuity of care to children wherever possible.
Kings Meadow Primary School is committed to ensuring that all staff responsible for the intimate care of children will undertake their duties in a professional manner at all times. Our school recognises that there is a need to treat all children with respect when intimate care is given.
Our approach to best practice
The management of all children with intimate care needs will be carefully planned. The child who requires intimate care is treated with respect at all times; the child's welfare and dignity is of paramount importance.
Staff will be supported to adapt their practice in relation to the needs of individual children. The child will be supported to achieve the highest level of independence that is possible given their age and abilities. Staff will encourage each child to do as much for him/herself as he/she can. This may mean, for example, giving the child responsibility for washing themselves. Individual Health Care plans will be drawn up for some children requiring intimate care, as appropriate, to suit their individual circumstances. This is the responsibility of the school’s Inclusion Leader.
The pupil’s dignity must always be considered and where contact of a more intimate nature is required (e.g. assisting with toileting or the removal of wet/soiled clothing), another member of staff should be in the vicinity and should be made aware of the task being undertaken.
Wherever possible the same child will be cared for by the same adult guarding against the care being carried out by a succession of completely different carers.
Wherever possible staff should only care intimately for an individual of the same sex. However, this principle may need to be waived where failure to provide appropriate care would result in negligence for example, the constraints of staffing e.g. female staff supporting boys in a primary school, as few or no male staff are available.
The Protection of Children
If a member of staff has any concerns about physical changes in a child's presentation, e.g. marks, bruises, soreness etc. s/he will immediately report concerns to the appropriate manager/ designated person for child protection.
If a child becomes distressed or unhappy about being cared for by a particular member of staff, the matter will be looked into and outcomes recorded. Parents/carers will be contacted at the earliest opportunity as part of this process in order to reach a resolution. Staffing schedules will be altered until the issue(s) are resolved so that the child's needs remain paramount. Further advice will be taken from outside agencies if necessary.
If a child makes an allegation against a member of staff, all necessary procedures will be followed.
Additional Guidance for school and staff
Schools often ask how they can they ensure that an individual child’s needs are met whilst having regard to the needs of all the other children within the school. There are a number of issues to consider when responding to an individual child’s needs. The following advice/strategies are some suggestions as possible ways to actively promote inclusion and the welfare of pupils.
Children wearing nappies
As part of our good practice staff will have a home/school book to record who changes a child, how often this task is carried out and the time it occurred. This provides reassurance for parents that systems are in place and that schools have implemented procedures for staff to follow.
The dignity and privacy of the child is of paramount concern. An area will be made private when a child is to be changed.
The area should not be situated in a thoroughfare. Children in the two year old provision will be changed in the bespoke room inside the Nursery setting.
The parent should provide nappies, disposal bags, wipes, changing mat etc. and parents should be made aware of this responsibility. Schools are responsible for providing gloves, plastic aprons, a bin and liners to dispose of any waste.
Health and Safety
Staff should always wear an apron and gloves when dealing with a child who is bleeding or soiled or when changing a soiled nappy. Any soiled waste should be placed in a polythene waste disposal bag, which can be sealed. This bag should then be placed in a bin (complete with a liner) which is specifically designated for the disposal of such waste. The bin should be emptied on a weekly basis and it can be collected as part of the usual refuse collection service as this waste is not classed as clinical waste. Staff should be aware of the school’s Health and Safety policy.
Additional vulnerabilities that may arise from a physical disability or learning difficulty must be considered with regard to individual teaching and Individual Health Care Plans for each child. As with all arrangements for intimate care needs, agreements between the child those with parental responsibility and the school should be easily understood and recorded.
Regardless of age and ability, the views and/or emotional responses of children with special needs should be actively sought (with advocacy arrangements made for those who can't) in regular reviews of these arrangements.
Guidance to safeguard children and education staff with regard to situations which may lend themselves to allegations of abuse (Physical contact, first aid, changing clothes, etc.)
All staff engaged in the care and education of children and young people need to exercise caution in the use of physical contact. The expectation is that staff will work in ‘limited touch’ cultures and that when physical contact is made with pupils this will be in response to the pupil’s needs at the time, will be of limited duration and will be appropriate given their age, stage of development and background.
Staff should be aware that even well intentioned physical contact might be misconstrued directly by the child, an observer or by anyone the action is described to. Staff must therefore always be prepared to justify actions and accept that all physical contact be open to scrutiny.
Children with special needs may require more physical contact to assist their everyday learning. The general culture of ‘limited touch’ will be adapted where appropriate to the individual requirements of each child. The arrangements must be understood and agreed by all concerned, justified in terms of the child’s needs, consistently applied and open to scrutiny. Wherever possible, consultation with colleagues should take place where any deviation from the arrangements is anticipated. Any deviation and the justification for it should be documented and reported.
Extra caution may be required where a child has suffered previous abuse or neglect. In the child’s view, physical contact might be associated with such experiences and lead to staff vulnerable to allegations of abuse. Ensuring that a witness is present will help to protect staff from such allegations.
First Aid and intimate care
Staff who administer first aid should ensure wherever possible that another adult or other children are present. The pupil’s dignity must always be considered and where contact of a more intimate nature is required (e.g. assisting with toileting or the removal of wet/soiled clothing), another member of staff should be in the vicinity and should be made aware of the task being undertaken.
Regular requirements of an intimate nature should be planned for. Agreements between the school, those with parental responsibility and the child concerned should be documented and easily understood. The necessity for such requirements should be reviewed regularly. The child’s views must also be actively sought and, in particular, any discomfort with the arrangements addressed.
Young people are entitled to respect and privacy when changing clothes. However, there must be the required level of supervision to safeguard children with regard to health and safety considerations.
Given the vulnerabilities of the situation, it is strongly recommended that when supervising children in a state of undress, another member of staff is present.
Monitoring and review
This policy will be monitored by the governing body.
The policy will be reviewed regularly.
Updated: October 2018