Rationale for and Aim of this Policy
The requirement for an Intimate Care Policy was noted while carrying out a Child Protection Risk Assessment. This policy was devised to provide clear direction to staff with regard to their interventions with pupils who may have intimate care needs, either in response to a once off incident or on a regular basis.
This policy aims to ensure the provision of intimate care in a way which promotes the dignity and privacy of the pupil while also protecting the integrity of staff involved.
It is fundamental to this policy that pupils should be supported to become as independent as possible in managing their own intimate care needs. The direct involvement of staff should occur only when necessary.
Intimate Care refers to all aspects of support to an individual, whether by direct or indirect contact, which are associated with bodily functions, body products and personal hygiene involving intimate parts of the body.
Direct contact involves physical contact between the pupil and a staff member. It may involve the touching of both intimate and non-intimate body parts.
Indirect contact involves the supervision, observation and prompting of the pupil to complete personal and intimate care tasks.
Extent Of the Policy
This policy applies to Personal Care i.e. tasks associated with outer appearance, which are by their nature less intrusive, as well as to Intimate Care.
Personal care involves carrying out, supporting and assisting children with their personal presentation. This can include:
1. Skin care and the application of any skin care medication
2. Providing general first aid assistance
3. Support with eating/Peg feeding
4. Assisting a child who requires a specific medical procedure, who is not able to carry this out unaided.
5. Washing of non-intimate body parts
6. Dressing and undressing with outer clothing layers
7. Dental care
Intimate care describes any task of an intimate nature which an individual cannot undertake for themselves. This care can be associated with bodily functions and personal hygiene, which will require direct or indirect contact with intimate body parts. This can include activities such as:
1. Providing first aid assistance near intimate body parts eg. Inspection of graze on hip
2. Dressing and undressing of underwear.
3. Assistance with toileting needs.
4. Showering a child who has soiled him/herself.
5. Supervising a child involved in intimate self-care.
6. Inserting suppositories in emergency situations; following receipt of written authorisation.
Parents have the responsibility to advise the school of any known intimate care needs relating to their child.
Principles of Personal and Intimate Care
The following are the fundamental principles upon which our policy guidelines are based:
● Every child has a right to be safe.
● Every child has the right to personal privacy.
● Every child has the right to be valued as an individual.
● Every child has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
● All children have the right to be involved and consulted in their own care to the best of their abilities.
● All children have the right to express their views on their own care and to have their views taken into account.
● Every child has the right to have levels of care that are appropriate and consistent.
● Pupils should be supported to become as independent as possible in managing their own care needs. The direct involvement of staff should occur only when necessary.
Assisting a child to change his/her clothes
On occasions, an individual child may require some assistance with changing if, for example, he /she has an accident at the toilet, gets wet outside, or has vomit on his/her clothes etc.
● Staff will always encourage children to attempt undressing and dressing unaided. However, if assistance is required, this will be given.
● Staff should have alerted a colleague to be nearby when supporting dressing/undressing and will always give the child the opportunity to change in private, unless the child is in such distress that it is not possible to do so.
● If a staff member is concerned in any way parents will be notified and asked to come to the school and assist their child.
● Furthermore, a parent will be informed if the child becomes distressed.
Changing a child who has soiled him/herself
If a child soils him/herself in school, a professional judgement has to be made whether it is appropriate to change the child in school, or request the parent/carer to collect the child for changing. In either circumstance the child’s needs are paramount and he/she should be comforted and reassured throughout.
The following guidelines outline our procedures but we will also seek to make age-appropriate responses.
● The child will be given the opportunity to change his/her underwear in private and carry out this process themselves.
● School will have a supply of wipes, clean underwear and spare clothes for this purpose. (Parents will be asked to send in a change of clothing for pupils who have ongoing intimate care needs).
● If a child is not able to complete this task unaided, school staff will attempt to contact the parent/emergency contact to inform them of the situation.
● If the parent/emergency contact is able to come to school within an appropriate time frame, the child will be accompanied and supported by a staff member until they arrive. This avoids any further distress and preserves dignity.
● If the parent/emergency contact cannot attend, school will seek verbal permission for staff to change the child. If none of the contacts can be reached the decision will be taken on the basis of loco-parentis and our duty of care to meet the needs of the child.
● The member of Staff who has assisted a pupil with intimate care will adhere to Child Protection Guidelines.
● Ensure that the action being taken is necessary.
● Get verbal agreement to proceed.
1. Pastoral Care Procedures
● Ensure the child is happy with who is changing him/her.
● Be responsive to any distress shown.
2. Basic Hygiene Routines
● Protective Disposable Gloves.
● Seal any Soiled Clothing in a Plastic Bag for Return to Parents
All members of staff working with children are vetted by the Teaching Council & Diocesan Office. Only those members of staff who are familiar with the Intimate Care Policy and other Pastoral Care Policies of the school are involved in the intimate care of children.
Where anticipated, intimate care arrangements are agreed between the school and parents and, when appropriate and possible, by the child.
Consent forms are signed by the parent and stored in the child’s file.
A record of the provision of Intimate Care must be kept in the child’s file. The template at Appendix 1 details the information to be provided.
Guidelines for Good Practice
All children have the right to be safe and to be treated with dignity and respect. These guidelines are designed to safeguard children and staff. They apply to every member of staff involved with the intimate care of children.
Adhering to the following guidelines of good practice should safeguard both children and staff:
● Involve the child in the intimate care. Try to encourage a child’s independence as far as possible in his or her intimate care. Where a situation renders a child fully dependent, talk about what is going to be done and, where possible, give choices. Check your practice by asking the child or parent about any preferences while carrying out the intimate care.
● Treat every child with dignity and respect and ensure privacy appropriate to the child’s age and situation. Intimate Care should not be provided by a member of staff working alone with a child - another member of staff should be close-by and within earshot.
● Make sure practice in intimate care is consistent. As a child may have multiple carers a consistent approach to care is essential. Effective communication between all parties ensures that practice is consistent.
● Be aware of your own limitations. Only carry out activities you understand and feel competent with. If in doubt, ask someone familiar with the needs of the child
● Promote positive self-esteem and body image. The approach you take to intimate care can convey lots of messages to a child about their body worth. Your attitude to a child’s intimate care is important. Keeping in mind the child’s age, routine care can be both efficient and relaxed.
● If you have any concerns you must report them. If you observe any unusual markings, discolouration or swelling report it immediately to the Designated Liaison Person.
Communication with Children
It is the responsibility of all staff caring for a child to ensure that they are aware of the child’s method and level of communication. Depending on their maturity and levels of stress, children may communicate using different methods - words, signs, symbols, body movements, eye pointing, etc. To ensure effective communication:
● Make eye contact at the child’s level.
● Use simple language and repeat if necessary.
● Wait for response.
● Continue to explain to the child what is happening even if there is no response.
● Treat the child as an individual with dignity and respect.
Communication, Monitoring and Review
This policy will be communicated to staff and the school community as appropriate and should be reviewed every three years.
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