Today I had the opportunity to sit down with the Executive Director and the Director of Operations of our local Boys and Girls Club to discuss EpiPen administration. My big kids (the ones with food allergies) are attending summer camp at BGC this year.
As I mentioned in a previous post, BGC is not allow to administer medication. I emailed the Program Manager from my site asking for more details about this since it had me worried. What if one of my kids had a reaction and no one was allow to intervene? I was initially told that their licensure wouldn't allow them to administer meds, but it turns out this is not the case. It is not cost-effective for the program to take on the financial responsibility and liability of administering meds. This actually makes a lot of sense to me. This program is not designed to be a daycare or school. It is a day drop-in program that is run differently than a daycare.
My local Program Manager gave me the email address of the Director of Operations. We connected, and she offered to meet with me to discuss my concerns. When I arrived today, I was kindly greeted, and the Executive Director joined our meeting. They listened attentively to my concerns, and we are looking into various solutions.
It is just not feasible for BGC to become a program that administers meds. But it was suggested that administering life-saving medication, such as epinephrine, may be considered first aid rather than administering medication. A fine line, so it is being looked into further by their staff.
They are also on board with more education for staff about food allergies, recognizing signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, and administration of epinephrine. I told them about the wonderful online course I took for First Aid for Anaphylaxis that would be a fabulous education tool for their staff. (Read my review about this course here, and find out how to receive a discount on the course fee too.)
Currently, three staff members at each site are certified in first aid and CPR. I brought up the fact that the kids take regular field trips, and this is a high risk time for a reaction. The chances of one of those three staff members being on each field trip is slim. They are considering having more staff members being certified at each location to increase safety in many areas.
Of course, education and prevention are key! I am, of course, more than happy to share my knowledge of food allergies with their staff.
I want to thank the staff at our BGC for all their hard work and dedication with all the kids. The staff has an obvious love for youth, and they go above and beyond for each child. I know they will do what they can to keep my child safe at all times. I just want to make sure they are prepared to act if necessary in a bad situation.
I'll keep you posted with updates. I am eager to see where all this goes!
Addendum: The director e-mailed me following this meeting stating that administering life-saving medication such as epinepherine and insulin would be considered First Aid rather than medication administration. Yay! Victory!