If a child has an intolerance to a particular food or foods, KMS staff can work with the family to help the child avoid these foods. If a child has a life-threatening allergy to one or more foods – like nuts or shellfish – this situation is more complicated. In these cases, our part-time Nurse requests more information from the family about the precise nature of the allergy and whether it is triggered by ingestion, contact, inhalation, or a combination of these. We then work with the family to determine if KMS can meet their child’s needs. For example, we can usually help a child avoid ingesting particular foods, but our facilities are not large enough to enable us to isolate a child to avoid inhalation during lunch, snack, or other activities.
If our staff believes we can keep the child safe, we will admit them and then work with the family and their physician to develop an Individual Health Plan for the child. This IHP includes a plan for avoiding the child’s trigger substances in class, on field trips, and in other venues, and signed orders from the child’s doctor specifying how KMS staff are to respond if the child has an allergic reaction.
Following state guidelines, all KMS staff receive annual training in managing food allergies and responding to allergic reactions, including training in how to administer emergency epinephrine injectors. So we are both trained and legally able to administer epinephrine when needed.
If the child returns to KMS in subsequent years, we meet with their family again at the beginning of each year to get updated doctor’s orders, find out if their condition has changed, and revise their IHP as needed.