Intimate and Personal Care

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Intimate and Personal Care

Intimate Care

‘Intimate Care’ can be defined as care tasks of an intimate nature, associated with bodily functions, bodily products and personal hygiene, which demand direct or indirect contact with, or exposure of, the sexual parts of the body.

Intimate care tasks include:

Dressing and undressing (underwear)
Helping someone use the toilet
Changing continence pads (faeces)
Changing continence pads (urine)
Bathing or showering
Washing intimate parts of the body

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Personal Care

‘Personal Care’ may often involve touching another person usually with the function of helping with personal presentation or assisting them to perform daily tasks.

Personal care tasks include:

Skin care/applying external medication such as sun cream
Administering oral medication
Hair care
Dressing and undressing (clothing)
Washing non-intimate body parts
Prompting to go to the toilet

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Responsibility of Schools and Nurseries etc.

Schools in the UK have a responsibility under the Disability Discrimination Act to "make reasonable adjustments" and provision to meet a child's needs. This would include any long term medical difficulty with toileting or any condition requiring regular intimate and personal care.

All schools should have an Intimate and Personal Care Policy, not just those with younger children or those with children with specific toileting or other intimate needs. It should include clear and specific definitions of what actions are covered by the policy together with clarity of roles, expectations and duties of staff and issues around safeguarding.

Everyone has the right to privacy and dignity and schools need to consider carefully where intimate care and toileting can be provided away from other children e.g. disabled or staff toilet. Where staffing arrangements permit, the child should be be supervised/assisted by only one staff member.

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Job Descriptions

Not everyone will be comfortable providing intimate care. Schools should consider carefully which roles within the school should have the duties of intimate care written in to their job descriptions. Even where there is no existing need best practice would be to have this capacity written into contracts of employment. This is particularly important during recruitment where it should be made clear to candidates that intimate care would be part of the role. It would therefore be useful to have the definition from the school policy in the job description document.

Personal Care tasks are less intimate and more often encountered in working with children. It would again be best practice to define and write personal care into job descriptions for roles where may necessary. For example, teaching assistants, nursery nurses and some admin staff are likely to be called upon to perform these tasks.

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Intimate/Personal Care Plan

A care plan should be written for any child requiring intimate care. It should be completed with the parents to ensure agreement of the scope of assistance that is required. The plan should include the following:

A brief description of the underlying cause or reason for intimate care
Specific details of the intimate care required by the child
Staffing arrangements - this should name all staff who will provide intimate care
Resources required and who will provide them
Arrangements for communication with parents.
Strategies to encourage greater independence by the child

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All staff who provide intimate care should receive training and guidance direct from the parents of the child. This should minimise any misunderstandings and reduce risk of any accusations being made against the member(s) of staff.

Each time a member of staff performs an intimate care task this should be recorded. This should include date, time, brief description of task performed, reason and initialled. A copy of this record should be given to parents at agreed intervals which will reflect the frequency, nature of support and any implications for action required by parents.

The schools policy and procedures for safeguarding and child protection should be followed where staff have any concerns raised during intimate care.

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You may also be interested in the following pages:

Emergency First Aid

Inclusion Policy

Medical Resources

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