Preparing Schools, Daycare, and Babysitters
Want to know about a good way to help your child?
Most people your child will meet in school — students, teachers, and principals — will know very little about hemophilia. And even less about inhibitors. This is also true of daycare centers and most babysitters.
You can help by teaching school staff about the best ways for people with hemophilia and inhibitors to stay healthy — and by educating them about your child's specific needs.
Meet with School Staff
The first step is to set up a meeting with school staff to talk about:
Your child's condition. If possible, have a nurse from your hemophilia treatment center join you to talk to school staff about hemophilia and to answer any questions they may have. If there is no hemophilia treatment center near you, your doctor should be able to provide you with information to give to the school.
Here are some helpful things to bring when you meet with school staff:
- What to do if a bleed occurs. Make sure the staff knows how to get in touch with your child's doctor, you, another parent, or caregiver.
- Doctor visits. If a plan is in place, it will be easier to excuse your child from school, if necessary. Explain the length and importance of some of your child's doctor visits. Schools may not understand that some visits can be an all-day thing, so explain that on some of these visits, your child is seen by multiple practitioners — doctors, nurses, counselors, dentists, and so on — all on one day. They'll be more understanding if they have a clearer picture.
- Individualized health plan. This plan should include facts on your child's health history and exact ways to react to bleeds and other injuries. A copy of the plan — including your emergency plan and phone numbers — should be on file at school.
When your child starts school, make sure the staff is informed. If they do not understand hemophilia and inhibitors, they may place unneeded restrictions on your child's day-to-day activities. A child with hemophilia should not be treated any differently from anyone else.
Babysitters should know the same sort of things you would explain to your school staff. It might be easier to explain things to babysitters. If they are watching the child in your home, then all of the supplies, medications, emergency kits, and information will already be prepared in the home.
If family and friends will be babysitting, they are likely to already know something about the condition. Even so — since bleeds can be harder to stop when there are inhibitors — make sure they know the difference between hemophilia and hemophilia with inhibitors. Also, make sure babysitters have quick access to emergency information, what to do if a bleed occurs, and the best way to contact you.
Basically, give babysitters a copy of the same sort of information you've given to the school staff.
It is a good idea to make sure everyone agrees on how to handle class work and health-related issues.
- Schoolwork. You, your child's teachers, and the principal should all agree on how your child will make up for missed homework or classroom progress because of medical-related absences.
- Bleeds. Decide on a system for quickly reporting bleeds to you.
- Accidents. Make sure your child can receive infusions after accidents that happen at school, by you, the school nurse, or another trained person. If you live in an area where only a doctor is allowed to do infusions, make sure the school knows how to contact you and the doctor — and that there are plans to quickly get the child to the doctor.
- Storage. Make arrangements for treatment supplies to be stored correctly at the school. Some treatments must be kept in the refrigerator. You might want to put together a kit of supplies to keep at school, like a soft bag with vials and supplies, or some people keep a travel kit in the car that can be refilled weekly.
- Identification. A medical alert ID that states the type of hemophilia and the presence of inhibitors should be worn or carried at all times.4
Current information about hemophilia, inhibitors, and preferred activities should be given to daycare and school personnel.