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First aid guide for schools

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July 11, 2017

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Various types of medical emergencies can occur in schools ranging from serious emergencies such as fits, severe breathlessness, to health issues like stomach ache, headache or a student injuring him/herself on the playground.

First aid requirements could vary according to the different ailments and situations the students might face in schools. A child spends maximum time in school away from the supervision of the parents and guardians who trust the school authorities and expect their child to be taken care of in the school premises. All schools need to have clear first aid guidelines in place for the teachers and staff to handle medical emergencies. The purpose of a First Aid Guide is to enable people to provide help in an emergency situation until a medical professional can arrive. Schools can take the following steps to ensure that they are equipped to handle any emergency.

Train teachers

Training teachers to handle medical emergencies is of utmost importance. Teachers can be trained by medical professionals during the summer or winter break on how to handle such situations. This training can help teachers to take care of the students who have injured themselves or who have fallen ill, as well as keep the other students calm in the classroom. Teachers should also be trained on how to use first aid material available in the first aid box while attending a medical emergency. There should be a mandate for school teachers and school officials to attend a CPR programme.

Updated Medical records:

Upon enrollment, schools should collect updated medical records and medical emergency information of each student in the school. These records can prove useful while rushing to the hospital and will help the doctors take immediate action in case of any complication. Schools should also have updated contact details of all the students’ parents and guardians so that they can be notified during an emergency.

Keeping First Aid Kit and supplies ready

A well-stocked first aid kit containing items such as bandages, sterile dressings, antiseptics, etc. should be available. The location of first aid kit should be known to all. Teachers should be well aware of any allergy or medical condition that a student in his/her classroom might have. They should have the required knowledge to deal with emergencies that arise in such situations. It is suggested that teachers meet the parents of the students who have a medical condition to decide the steps to be taken in case any emergency arises. Medication for such conditions should be kept in the school bag or locker for such students. No medicine should be given unless advised by a doctor. Medicines such as oral rehydration solution may be kept as per advice of school physician.

Partner with local health care clinic

Though the teachers will be trained on how to handle medical emergencies, school officials should research and make a note of public health services and local health care providers in the vicinity of the school and also partner with the most convenient option. The contact details of the health services and medical practitioners should be kept handy. The contact numbers of a basic as well as advance life support ambulance should be available. There should be a doctor on call who will be available in case of emergencies.

Appoint a school nurse

Schools should appoint a school nurse, because even if teachers, school staff and students are trained, having professional help in medical emergencies is of utmost importance.

Train Students

Last but not the least; schools can incorporate first aid as a part of their extra-curricular activities by providing the students with basic training on how to handle medical emergencies. It will give them the confidence to handle such emergencies not only in their schools but also in their homes and neighbourhoods.

Involvement of Parents

Medical Emergency preparedness protocol followed by the school should be discussed in parent-teacher meetings. Parents’ suggestions may be considered if feasible for incorporation in the protocol. Such measures may avoid allegations by parents of mishandling medical emergency with resultant bad publicity for the school.

Medical emergencies can occur anytime and anywhere. Without proper First Aid, a simple injury could become severe and in some cases fatalities can occur as a result of lack of immediate medical treatment. It is a life skill that stays with one for entire life and can come in handy during emergencies around them.

Dr. Santosh Datar, is a Medical Director and consultant doctor at Ziqitza Healthcare limited. He is trained in Occupational Health, Hospital Administration and Medico legal issues. He comes with an experience of 31 years and has a flair for designing systems and procedures and making continual improvements in the organizations he works for. Dr. Datar has an M.B.B.S degree along with a Diploma in Anesthesiology and Industrial Medicine. In the past he has worked with companies like Larsen & Toubro Limited, The Hindustan Insecticides Ltd, Johnson & Johnson among other reputed companies. He is also a part of national safety council as an auditor and trainer and a member of Life Supporters Institute of Health Sciences, Mumbai. He has also been the former president Indian Association of Occupational Health, Mumbai Branch and is a recipient of Best Resource Person award from Indian Association of Occupational Health.

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