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Health assessment – Information for foster carers and residential placement staff

Information for foster carers and residential placement staff.

What is a Health Assessment?

It is really important that the child you are caring for is seen for their health assessment. Not only is the health assessment an essential opportunity to determine the health and wellbeing needs of the child/ young person in your care; it is something they are entitled to. It is part of your responsibility as a Carer to enable and encourage the child in your care to be seen for their health assessment.

The health assessment, carried out by a Health Care Professional, will assess the child/young person’s historical and current physical, emotional and mental health needs. The health professional will offer advice and guidance during the assessment and make recommendations to ensure the child’s ongoing health needs are met and good health is sustained.

In order to work within Government guidelines, social care and the health team for Looked After Children are required to work together to ensure the child is seen for their health assessment within statutory timescales.

Initial Health Assessments

All children are required to be seen for an Initial Health Assessment (IHA) with a Doctor when they come into care. This is required to take place within 28 days of coming into care (20 working days).

Review Health Assessments

Children under 5 years will be seen every six months for a review health assessment (RHA). Over the age of 5 RHA’s are carried out every 12 months. RHA’s may be carried out by a Doctor or Nurse; and may be someone already known to the child such as the Health Visitor, School Nurse or Paediatrician.

Booking the appointment

A member of the Looked After Children’s health team will contact you to arrange the health assessment. Where possible this will be done in advance of the due date to ensure it is completed in plenty of time.

Attempts will be made to book an appointment at a mutually agreeable time and location. For IHA’s this will likely be at the weekly LAC clinic (for children placed within Buckinghamshire) or hospital/health center for children placed elsewhere. RHA’s may be at your home, the child’s school or another location. This will be agreed with you, and the child/young person ahead of the appointment.

Attending the appointment

Like many NHS appointments the Doctors and Nurses get very busy so we appreciate in advance your support in ensuring appointments are kept. If an appointment is missed there will likely be a delay in the child being seen which could impact on their health and wellbeing. We ask therefore that you please make every attempt to attend unless completely unavoidable. Please speak to the child’s social worker if you don’t think you can attend.

During the assessment

The Doctor or Nurse will ask lots of questions about the child in your care. This will help them form a holistic overview of their health and wellbeing. There is also an opportunity for the child/young person to ask questions relating to their health, it is important their voice is heard.

The assessment is non invasive and does not require the child or young person to get undressed. The Doctor may use a stethoscope to listen to their heart and chest.

The child/young person will be weighed and measured at each assessment to review their growth and development.

Please be advised that the child does not need to be seen without you unless they want to. Young People are always given the choice to be seen alone.

What to bring

For children under 5 please ensure you have their Red Book with you for their health assessment.

You will have been sent a Carers report prior to the appointment. Please complete and bring this with you; it is an opportunity to share your knowledge of the child which will help inform the health assessment.

For all children please provide the details of any other health professionals and appointments that they are attending. This includes name of GP, Dentist and Opticians; and dates of when they were last seen. If the child/young person is to be seen in school or without you present the Nurse/Doctor may call you to ask for these details.

Some children may find it distressing or upsetting to be seen for their health assessment. Please bring any toys or activities that they like to do if this will help to settle them.

After the assessments

Following the health assessment the Nurse/Doctor will write a summary and health plan, you will be sent a copy. Please read the health plan as there may be actions for you or the child/young person to undertake. This will be reviewed at the Looked After Child Review.

Emotional and mental health

If you are concerned about a child’s mental health or emotional well-being, you can phone CAMHS on the Single Point of Access phone number 01865 901951 (open 8am-6pm). The team will advise if the child needs to be seen for an assessment in CAMHS or they may direct your call to the CAMHS-LAC team who can support you with that child in your placement. Young people from 14 years can self-refer to CAMHS.

Contact the LAC Health Team

If you have any questions before the next health assessment is due, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the LAC health team on the details below.

Looked After Children’s Team

Tel: 01296 566020