Prescription medication is not uncommon. Scouting youth are prescribed medication for a wide variety of conditions, including allergies and chronic conditions. The risk of medication incidents (such as mixed up prescriptions or incorrect doses) will increase with the number of youth in your Section requiring medications.
The consequences of a medication incident could be severe, so it’s important to get it right.
Medication is a serious responsibility. A Scouter should only accept this duty if he or she feels confident that he or she can administer the right medication to the right child at the right time and with the right dose.
6 R’s of Medication Administration
- The right drug
- The right youth
- The right time
- The right way (oral, injection, cream)
- The right dose
- The right documentation – log when you have issued medication
Get the Full Story
Communication with the youth’s parents is key. If they ask you to administer medication to their son or daughter, you should ask for as much information as possible, including a brief medical history or experience with the medication, potential risks or side effects associated with the medication, as well as full instructions on how to administer the medication.
Organize your Section’s medicine cabinet
To reduce the risk of an incident, ensure each medication is properly labelled in sealable clear plastic bags with the youth’s name, drug name, the prescribed dose, the administration schedule and how the medication is to be administered. Keep medications in their original containers, so that you have as much information on hand as possible in the event of an emergency. Designate one or two Scouters to receive and dispense medication on camps and trips.
Storage of medications at camp can be problematic, especially if the medicine needs to be refrigerated. Ensure that medication is safely stored away from youth (excepting as-needed medication; see below). It is a good idea to keep medications in a locked, animal-proof container, and only open as required. Remember to wash your hands, before and after handling a medication!
Be a Team
When it’s time for a youth to take his or her medication, double check things with another Scouter. Agree that you are administering the right medication and the right dose to the right youth, at the right time, the right way.
Youth in senior Sections may administer their own medications. You should still make sure that you know what medications they have. Ensure that you check and record that it has been taken.
Medication that is required for emergencies, such as EpiPens or inhalers, should be kept close or with the youth at all times. Have a second EpiPen on hand as a backup. All Scouters should know where it is and how to use it. Always report an incident. After life-threatening incidents requiring as-needed medications, seek professional medical care.
Know What to Do
You should know how to get help and what to do in the event of a problem with the medication (such as an underdose or overdose). In an emergency, call 911. When calling 911, have the original packaging with you (if possible).
Always report an incident. After life-threatening incidents requiring as-needed medications, seek professional medical care.
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