Individual Healthcare Plan
Every young person with epilepsy should have an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP), setting out information about their condition and the support they need to be safe and included at school.
The IHP should describe their seizures, how their condition is best managed, and the impact it has on their learning and behaviour, including any medication side effects. A clear emergency protocol must also be included, including when an ambulance should be called.
The IHP should be developed jointly between the school, young person, parents and healthcare professionals. The responsibility for its implementation remains with the school and the IHP should clearly set out who will deliver which aspects of support.
As epilepsy can be a fluctuating condition, IHPs should be reviewed annually, or sooner if circumstances have changed. Parents should be reminded to keep the school informed of any changes in seizure activity, medication or behaviour.
An IHP is needed even if seizures are currently controlled by treatment. Seizures may reoccur and the young person’s condition may still be having an impact on their learning and behaviour.
As a minimum, the IHP should include:
- The diagnosis, a brief description of seizure type(s), including any possible triggers and any signs that a seizure might be about to occur
- Basic management of seizures/seizure first aid
- Current medication including dosage
- Emergency protocol
- Impact on learning and behaviour (utilising the ABLE Tool)
- Circumstances that require additional consideration/risk assessment
- Reasonable adjustments required including consideration of the physical environment, curriculum, exams etc.
- Additional training required, which may include administration of emergency medication
- Written permission from the parents and headteacher for any medication to be administered during the school day/school activities
- Communication protocol, who needs to know and what they need to know.
The benefits of an accurate, up-to-date IHP include:
A good seizure description can help everyone to recognise what happens to that young person and is much more useful than just the name of the seizure type(s). It can also help staff recognise when emergency procedures need to be followed.
If the young person has more than one type of seizure, different medical management may be needed for each seizure and this can be clearly shown on one IHP.
An IHP can provide clear instructions on how parents should be informed about a seizure and when staff should follow emergency procedures.
Once a good seizure description has been incorporated in the IHP, school staff are more aware of what to look out for and what needs to be recorded.
Accurate eye witness accounts can be given to the young person’s medical team via the parents and this provides useful information that may influence treatment.
Comparisons with previous seizures enable changes to be identified, which may indicate the need for medication to be revised.
When staff, the young person and parents have agreed what needs to be done, and this is clearly written in the IHP, everyone is able to feel more confident about the young person’s safety and inclusion.
The increased confidence of the school staff will also extend to the class peers, encouraging them to include the young person with epilepsy in their social groups.
All staff will be aware of the young person’s condition and what to do if they have a seizure. They will also understand the impact of the young person’s epilepsy and the strategies in place to support them.
Any changes in a young person’s learning, academic achievement, emotions and/or behaviour must be recorded on the IHP and fed back to the parents.
Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish if these changes are due to seizures, medication or ongoing brain activity. These changes may indicate a change in the young person’s epilepsy that require further investigation from their medical team and a possible change in treatment.