How Nannies and Parents Can Prevent Medication Miscommunication

2013 January 14
by Michelle

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medicine How Nannies and Parents Can Prevent Medication MiscommunicationWhen a child is suffering from an illness, whether it’s chronic or acute, the responsibilities of a nanny almost always expand to include the regular administration of prescribed and over-the-counter medications for treatment and symptom management. When this is the case, it’s absolutely imperative for nannies and parents to work out a system designed to prevent accidental double-dosing, or a second dose from being administered too soon after the first through a failure of communication.

Maintain a Medication Log

One of the best methods for ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding medication and when it was last administered is keeping a log of all medications, with the time each dose was given and who gave it to the child. This method can also extend to a chart or checklist, whichever is most convenient for a family and childcare provider to maintain. In order for a medication dosage log to be effective, however, both parents and childcare providers must be diligent regarding updates and maintenance. Forgetting to enter a single dosage could cause the very failure in communication that you’re trying to prevent, leading to a potentially dangerous double dose.

Assign Dosage Duties

Some households rely upon a policy of one dedicated caregiver or parent administering medication exclusively, an arrangement that may or may not be suitable for all families. Depending upon the hours that your nanny will be working and the times when medication doses are scheduled, you may have no choice but to grant her permission to administer medication to your child. Instituting a policy of contact prior to a medication dose could be effective in such situations, with the nanny only administering medication after being expressly asked to do so by the parent holding dedicated dosing responsibilities with each and every dose. This will require the parent with dosage responsibilities to call or otherwise contact the nanny several times throughout the day, however.

Mark the Bottle

Attaching a piece of paper with a miniature dosage chart grid to be dated and initialed with the time of each dose administered can help to facilitate smooth transitions at the beginning and end of each shift, allowing parents and nannies to easily take over for one another. It’s important to remember that, just like medication logs and checklists, dosage charts on the bottle will only be effective if they’re filled out each and every time the medication is administered.

Discuss Each New Medication Personally

Every time that a new medication is introduced, whether prescribed by a pediatrician or purchased over the counter, it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes discussing the medication with your nanny so that she knows what it’s used to treat, when it should be administered, and any possible side effects that your child could exhibit signs of. Simply talking with your nanny is the single most effective way of ensuring that you’re both on the same page and that she’s well-informed regarding the method of recording dosages that you prefer.

Put Your Smartphones to Work

Today’s mobile devices are so much more than phones, with applications available that help parents manage everything from diaper changes to soccer practice schedules. There are apps on the market designed to sync the devices of parents and childcare providers, facilitating quick and easy communication regarding medication dosages, diaper changes and sleep patterns. If your child regularly takes any type of medication, it may be wise to invest in such applications to serve as a paperless log for your nanny to record dosages.

Make Dosage Debriefing Part of Your End-of-Day Routine

At the end of each day, most nannies provide a quick rundown of the day’s events and milestones. For chronically-ill children, ensuring that discussing the medication log and related information is a great way of making sure that every dose is accounted for. Going over medication logs, charts, lists and app updates together to ensure that the information is accurate can go a long way towards protecting kids from an inadvertent overdose or missed medication.

Discuss Medication Sensitivities and Allergies at Length

While it’s almost always best to institute a policy that prohibits your nanny from administering any over-the-counter medications that she’s purchased, it’s still important for her to be well-informed regarding any allergies or sensitivities he may have to specific medications. This is especially important if she’ll ever be responsible for taking your child to the pediatrician or family doctor, as it’s a common question asked before a prescription for any ailment is selected.

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