Intimate Care Policy 2022
Intimate Care Policy 2022-2023
Academy: Co-op Academy Parkland
Policy owner: Charlotte Wierzbianski
Date: October 2022
Date shared with staff: October 2022
Date shared with governors: October 2022
Review Date: October 2023
Intimate care is any care which involves washing, touching or carrying out an invasive procedure (such as cleaning a pupil after they have soiled themselves) to intimate personal areas. In most cases, such care will involve cleaning for hygiene purposes as part of a staff member’s duty of care. In the case of a specific procedure, only a person suitably trained and assessed as competent will undertake the procedure. The issue of intimate care is a sensitive one and will require staff to be respectful of the pupil’s needs. The pupil’s dignity should always be preserved with a high level of privacy, choice and control. There should always be a high awareness of possible safeguarding and child protection issues. As such, staff behaviour must be open to scrutiny and staff must work in partnership with parents, carers and health professionals, where appropriate, to provide continuity of care to pupils/young people wherever possible.
At Co-op Academy Parkland, we are committed to ensuring that all staff responsible for the intimate care of pupils will undertake their duties in a professional manner at all times. We recognise that there is a need to treat all pupils with respect especially when intimate care is given. No pupil should be attended to in a way that causes distress or pain.
The management of all pupils with intimate care needs will be carefully planned. The pupil’s welfare and dignity is of paramount importance.
Staff who provide intimate care will be trained to do so (including Safeguarding, Child Protection and Health and Safety training in moving and handling) and be fully aware of best practice. Where an assessment made by a physiotherapist/occupational therapist determines special apparatus should be used to assist such care, this will be accommodated. Staff will be supported to adapt their practice in relation to the needs of individual pupils taking into account developmental changes such as the onset of puberty and menstruation.
Each pupil will be supported to achieve the highest level of autonomy that is possible given their age and abilities. Staff will encourage each pupil to do as much for him/herself/themself as he/she/they can. This may mean, for example, giving the pupil responsibility for washing themselves. Individual intimate care plans will be drawn up for each individual pupil where appropriate to suit the circumstances of the individual pupil. Each pupil’s right to privacy will be respected. Careful consideration will be given to each pupil’s situation to determine how many carers might need to be present when a pupil is toileted. Wherever possible, one pupil will be catered for by one adult unless there is a sound rationale for having more adults present. If this is the case, the reasons will be clearly documented.
Wherever possible, a pupil will not be cared for by the same adult on a regular basis; ideally there will be a rota of carers known to the pupil who will take turns in providing care. This will ensure, as far as possible, that over-familiar relationships are discouraged from developing, whilst at the same time guarding against the care being carried out by a succession of completely different carers.
Wherever possible staff should only care intimately for an individual of the same sex. However, in certain circumstances this principle may need to be waived where failure to provide appropriate care would result in negligence e.g. female staff supporting boys when no suitably qualified male staff are available. Intimate care arrangements will be discussed with parents/carers on a regular basis and recorded on the pupil’s care plan. The needs and wishes of pupils and parents will be taken into account wherever possible within the constraints of staffing and equal opportunities legislation.
The Protection of Pupils
At Co-op Academy Parkland, safeguarding procedures and the Bradford Children Safeguarding Board procedures will be adhered to at all times. All pupils will be taught personal safety skills carefully matched to their level of development and understanding. If a member of staff has any concerns about physical changes in a pupil’s presentation, e.g. marks, bruises, soreness etc. s/he will immediately report concerns to the appropriate manager/designated person for pupil protection/DSL. If a pupil becomes distressed or unhappy about being cared for by a particular member of staff, the matter will be investigated and outcomes recorded. If a pupil makes an allegation against a member of staff, all necessary procedures will be followed (see Allegations of abuse protocols). Parents/carers will be contacted and informed as part of this process in order to reach a resolution. Where deemed appropriate, staffing schedules will be altered until the issue(s) are resolved. During this time the pupil’s needs remain of paramount importance. School will seek further specialist advice from outside agencies where necessary to maximise the best outcomes for the pupil.
Disqualification from working with children under the Childcare Act (2006)
Details of this legislation can be found in our Child Protection Policy. Staff covered under this legislation are required to complete and sign a self-declaration form annually, at the first staff training session each year in September.
Health and Safety:
When attending to the intimate care of pupils, staff should be aware of the school’s Health and Safety policy. Staff should always wear an apron and gloves when dealing with a pupil who is menstruating or has soiled. All soiled waste (urinary or faecal) should be placed in a polythene waste disposal bag, which will be sealed. This bag should then be placed in a bin (complete with a liner) which is specifically designated for the disposal of such waste. The bin should be emptied regularly, (minimum on a weekly basis) and it will be collected as part of the usual refuse collection service. Note: this waste is not classed as clinical waste.
Special/complex health needs
Pupils with special/complex health needs have the same rights to safety and privacy when receiving intimate care. Additional vulnerabilities that may arise from a physical disability or learning difficulty must be considered with regard to individual teaching and care plans for each pupil. As with all arrangements for intimate care needs, agreements between the pupil, those with parental responsibility and the school should be easily understood and clearly recorded.
Regardless of age and ability, the views and emotional responses of pupils with special needs should be actively sought (with advocacy arrangements in place for those who require assistance) in regular reviews of these intimate care arrangements.
All staff engaged in the care and education of pupils need to exercise caution in the use of physical contact. The expectation is that staff will work in ‘limited touch’ cultures and that when physical contact is made with pupils this will be in response to the pupil’s needs at the time, will be of limited duration and will be appropriate given their age, stage of development and background.
Staff should be aware that even well intentioned physical contact might be misconstrued directly by the pupil, an observer or by anyone the action is described to. Staff must therefore always make considered judgements when executing their duties, be prepared to justify actions and accept that all physical contact will be open to scrutiny.
Any physical contact with an individual pupil is likely to be open to question unless the justification for this is formally agreed by the pupil, the school and those with parental responsibility.
Pupils with complex health and/or special needs may require more physical contact to assist their everyday learning. The general culture of ‘limited touch’ will be adapted where appropriate to the individual requirements of each pupil. The arrangements must be understood and agreed by all concerned, justified in terms of the pupil’s needs, consistently applied and open to scrutiny. Consultation with colleagues and, where possible, parents/carers will take place where any deviation from the agreed arrangements is anticipated. Any deviation and the justification for it will be fully documented and reported.
Extra caution is required by staff where a pupil is known to have suffered previous abuse or neglect. In this case, the pupil may view physical contact to be associated with such previous experiences and may result in staff being more vulnerable to allegations of abuse. Additionally, many such pupils may present as extremely needy and actively seek out inappropriate physical contact. In such circumstances, staff should deter the pupil minimising any negative experience. In such cases, ensuring supervision will help to protect staff from possible allegations.
There may be occasions where it is necessary for staff to restrain pupils physically to prevent them from inflicting damage on either themselves, others or property. In such cases staff should use the minimum force necessary for the minimum length of time required for the pupil to regain self-control. In all cases of restraint, the incident must be documented and reported, following the school's Physical Intervention Policy. Staff must be fully aware of and adhere to the schools’ care and control policy.
Under no circumstances is it permissible to use physical force as a form of punishment, to modify behaviour, or to make a pupil comply with an instruction. Physical force of this nature is unacceptable and is likely to constitute a criminal offence.
Pupils in distress
There may be occasions when a distressed pupil needs comfort and reassurance that may include physical touch such as a caring parent would give. Staff must remain self-aware at all times to ensure that their contact is not threatening or intrusive and is not subject to misinterpretation. Judgement will need to take account of the circumstances of a pupil’s distress, the extent and cause of the distress. Unless the pupil needs an immediate response, staff should consider whether they are the most appropriate person to respond. It may be more suitable to involve the pupil’s relative or the school’s pastoral team. To minimise the risk of misinterpretation/allegation, particular care must be taken in instances which involve the same pupil over a period of time. Where a member of staff has a particular concern about the need to provide this type of care and reassurance they should seek further advice, from their line manager or other appropriately qualified person.
First Aid and intimate care
Staff who administer first aid should ensure wherever possible that another adult or other pupils are present and are in a designated area or space that allows dignity to be maintained. Where contact of a more intimate nature is required (e.g. assisting with toileting or the removal of wet/soiled clothing), another member of staff should be in the vicinity and must be made aware of the task being undertaken. Regular requirements of an intimate nature should be planned for.
Physical Education and other skills coaching
Some staff are likely to come into physical contact with pupils from time to time in the course of their duties when participating in games, demonstrating an exercise or the use of equipment. Staff must be aware of the limits within which such contact should properly take place and of the possibility of misinterpretation.
Where it is anticipated that a pupil might be prone to misinterpret any such contact, alternatives should be considered, perhaps involving another member of staff or a less vulnerable pupil in the demonstration.
Young people are entitled to respect and privacy when changing clothes. However, there must be the required level of supervision to safeguard young people with regard to health and safety considerations and to ensure that bullying or teasing does not occur. This means that adults should announce their intention of entering rooms where children are changing, avoid remaining in changing rooms unless the pupils’ needs require it, avoid any physical contact when pupils are in a state of undress and avoid any visually intrusive behaviour.
Given the vulnerabilities of the situation, it is strongly recommended that when supervising pupils in a state of undress, another member of staff is present. However, this may not always be possible and therefore, staff need to be vigilant about their own conduct, e.g. adults must not change in the same place as pupils or shower with pupils.
Out of school trips, clubs etc.
Employees should take particular care when supervising pupils in the less formal atmosphere of a residential setting or after-school activity. Although more informal relationships in such circumstances tend to be usual, the standard of behaviour expected of staff will be no different from the behaviour expected within school. Staff involved in such activities should also be familiar with school’s policy and all LA Guidance regarding out of school activities. To ensure pupils’ safety, increased vigilance may be required when monitoring their behaviour on field trips, holidays etc. It is important to exercise caution so that a pupil is not compromised and the member of staff does not attract allegations of overly intrusive or abusive behaviour.
Staff should not place themselves in a position where they are in a vehicle, house or other venue alone with a pupil. Meetings with pupils away from the school premises where a chaperone will not be present are not permitted unless in exceptional circumstances where specific approval has been obtained from the Head of Academy or other senior colleague with delegated authority. If staff come into contact with pupils whilst off duty, they must behave as though in their professional role and not give conflicting messages regarding their own conduct.
Photography, videos and similar creative arts
Staff should be aware of the potential for such mediums of teaching to be used for the wrong purposes. When using photographic equipment, staff should follow the Co-op Academies Trust Staff Code of Conduct (including Electronic Communications policy).