Health and Wellbeing Policy

STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS

The Health and Well-being Standard

OTHER RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Provision and Preparation of Meals Procedure

Health Notifications and Access to Services Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was substantially updated in June 2019 and should be re-read in its entirety.



Contents

  1. Overall Health
  2. Placement Plans
  3. Doctors, Dentists, Opticians, Immunisation, Screening and Annual LAC Health Assessments
  4. Health Appointments
  5. Effects of Alcohol, Smoking and other Substances
  6. Primary Care
  7. Food and Nutrition
  8. Exercise and Rest
  9. Sexual Health
  10. Emotional Health


1. Overall Health

The physical emotional, mental and sexual health of Children / Young People who come to Childhood First homes is our primary concern.

Our centres are designed to;

  • Ensure that current health needs are met;
  • Attend to Neglect or damage resulting from unmet need in the past;
  • Help children to understand their own current and future health needs and invest in attending to them.

The children we care for have had difficulties with aspects of their health due to neglect or abuse and this can make it difficult for them to accept care. Our provision takes this into account by providing primary and health care in the context of relationship based work, informed by an understanding of complications for particular children. It is the role of the staff teams to offer children opportunities for healthy choices and to sensitively encourage children to use them.

Also see: Spending One to One time with Children Procedure.


2. Placement Plans

Each child's Placement Plan includes a clear outline of their health care needs and how these will be met and monitored. Needs are assessed on arrival using medical history available and reviewed throughout the placement. The Placement Plan includes a summary of medical history and identifies specific health needs e.g. dental, optical, hearing, particular illness and conditions, allergies and other needs as well as eating, sleeping, substance use, risk taking and self harm issues. A record is kept of all illnesses, accidents and injuries to children during placement as well as of any health intervention.

Also see: Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure.


3. Doctors, Dentists, Opticians, Immunisation, Screening and Annual LAC Health Assessments

On admission every Child/Young Person is registered with a local GP to provide the ordinary services of a doctor when needed. The LAC Nurse conducts an annual LAC Health Assessment, ensuring that immunisations and screenings are kept up to date. Children/Young People are also registered with a local dentist and optician where they will be taken for regular checks and provided with any necessary intervention.


4. Health Appointments

Every Child/Young Person is provided with the support they need to understand and attend health appointments. Care is taken to consider carefully who accompanies children on health visits, and staff members are supported in thinking about any difficulties which may arise and how best to handle them. Subject to age and understanding, Children/Young People can choose whether or not they are accompanied to the doctors/nurses and where possible, or practicable given the choice to see a professional of either gender.

5. Effects of Alcohol, Smoking and other Substances

Our staff support Children/Young People in understanding the harmful effects of using alcohol, nicotine and other substances. These issues are discussed both in individual work and in group meetings. GPs are also available to offer advice directly to Children/Young People on such issues as well as to consult with staff where appropriate.

Also see: Smoking and Alcohol Procedure and Drugs and Substance Misuse Procedure.


6. Primary Care

Childhood First will ensure that the primary health care needs of all our residents are met in a full way. By primary care, we mean nutrition and diet, exercise, rest, physical safety and personal hygiene. Primary care provision is central to the therapeutic ethos. This is as essential to our Children/Young People as to any  new born and the importance of this is communicated with staff.

Training and supervision emphasises the reliable provision of primary care in the context of understanding that the children who come to us may have eating difficulties, disrupted sleeping patterns and complicated relationships to the personal care of their bodies and keeping safe.

It is the role of all our staff to provide children with primary care within an environment, manner and set of relationships which is conducive to children being able to accept this care.

7. Food and Nutrition

Eating well has a critical impact on physical health. All children within Childhood First homes are provided with a balanced healthy diet and children are helped to develop healthy eating patterns. Children are encouraged to become involved with the preparation of meals and to engage in conversations and meetings about what they like to eat and about the food provided. The provision of good food and the ability to accept it is also recognised for its contribution to development, identity and emotional health. Therefore attention to detail in the way food is prepared and provided is essential to maximise this contribution. Children are also helped to attend group mealtimes together as a social occasion; cultural differences in food are attended to and celebrated.

Also see: Provision and Preparation of Meals Procedure.


8. Exercise and Rest

Every Child/Young Person is encouraged to take exercise in a way that they enjoy. Staff are available to join in and organise games and sports. There are a wide range of informal and formal opportunities to exercise including individual activities (e.g. walking, bike-riding); group games (e.g. football, tag) and organised classes and team sports (e.g. dance, football training) through pursuing more specialist hobbies like rock climbing or sailing. These are provided for their physical health benefits as well as their contribution to emotional development and well-being.

Relaxing, resting and being able to sleep well are essential parts of children's lives and part of our treatment programme is to help Children/Young People to use opportunities to rest and relax and give their minds and bodies opportunity for quiet and replenishment. All Children/Young People are helped at bedtimes with individual attention to best enable them to make the transition into sleep and being on their own.


9. Sexual Health

Childhood First homes offer relationship based group therapy. Much of the work is focussed on understanding how people interact and our impact on each other. The children who come to us have often experienced relationships which are intrusive, neglectful or abusive, often sexually. Childhood First homes offer children a chance to understand the impact of these experiences. Such experiences often leave Children/Young People with difficulties in relating to others which if not attended to can manifest themselves in unhealthy sexual relationships and use of sex ways which are unhelpful or dangerous for them and others. These forums provide opportunities for Children/Young People to learn about keeping safe; to recognise and manage risks in different situations and discuss what kind of physical contact is acceptable and unacceptable. Children/Young People are helped to learn to recognise when pressure from others threatens their personal safety and develop effective ways of resisting pressure, as well as understanding their own propensities to creating dangerous situations.

Childhood First communities are committed to protecting Children/Young People from physical damage which can result from premature sexual relationships, early pregnancy and STDs, as well as treating the emotional damage which has already occurred and helping them to be protected from future damage.

Also see: Sexual Health and Relationships Procedure.


10. Emotional Health

Children/Young People’s emotional health is at the centre of the Childhood First Treatment methodology. Our expertise is in psychosocial care. This relates internal mental and emotional functioning with functioning in terms of relationships to others. Such functioning impacts directly on the ability in Children/Young People to accept care, and thus on their physical health. All aspects of health are seen to be interrelated.

All care staff within the homes receive training in Child Psychotherapeutic Counselling  which qualifies them to support the children’s emotional and psychosocial care within the model of Integrated Systemic Therapy practiced within the homes. Every staff member is thus expected and supported to think about children's psychosocial care in an integrated way. Emotional health is central to this thinking. Psychiatric oversight further supports our work. In some communities children have individual psychotherapy to supplement the work that happens in the home.