Teachers sometimes worry about having a student with haemophilia in their class. You don’t need to panic. It is unlikely to impact on your classroom practices. However, it is important to know a few basics, including what to do in the event of an emergency. Knowledge will help you relax and become more comfortable with haemophilia.
The teacher has a significant impact on the student. A positive and realistic attitude towards haemophilia and not using it to define the student can help create a positive attitude in the student towards haemophilia, himself and his abilities. Your positive attitude will also ‘rub off’ onto other students and teachers.
Talking About Haemophilia – with the class
Some students, particularly younger children, are happy for their teachers to tell the class about their haemophilia. As a student gets older, he may prefer that only a select few know. Before talking with your class about haemophilia, speak with your student and his parents/guardians about their wishes. They may want you to address certain issues or avoid others.
Talking About Haemophilia – with teachers
All members of staff should have some understanding of haemophilia and know which student has the disorder so they know what to do in the event of a playground accident. Create an ‘Emergency Care Plan’ together with parents/guardians and the student; this should consist of an emergency phone numbers list. It is important for parents to be present during these meetings to provide information about their child. There is no need for staff to panic – it is unlikely that they will need to use this knowledge. However, everyone concerned will feel happier and safer knowing what to do ‘in case’. Display the ‘Care Plan’ and haemophilia first aid management poster in a secure (confidential) yet prominent place in the sick bay and staff room.
First Aid – Minor Accidents
Your student with haemophilia will have as many cuts and scrapes as any other child his age. Shallow cuts and scratches are not life-threatening and bleeding will stop. Often a firmly applied band aid is sufficient.
Treat minor injuries as you would for any other child. Ensure pressure is placed upon the site to curb bleeding.
Your student’s parent or guardian will speak with you about what to do if the student has a bleed at school; this can be included in the student’s ‘Emergency Care Plan’. You may be asked to contact the parent or guardian, put ice on the site, and/or let the student rest. If you have permission to offer him Panadol, this will help (DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN/NUROFEN TO A PERSON WITH HAEMOPHILIA).
Emergencies include head injuries such as falling from the monkey bars, bleeding into the nose or throat cavity (minor nose bleeds are not generally a problem) and any sudden, severe pain such as a headache or abdominal pain. Blood into these regions can be life threatening and should be checked immediately.
Emergencies are extremely rare. However, it is strongly encouraged that you discuss and create and ‘Emergency Care Plan’ with the parent/guardian around what they expect you to do in the event of an emergency. If you have questions about what you need to do, it is prudent to resolve them early. Knowing what you need to do will increase your confidence to handle situations effectively.
Keep permission forms, notes about the parent’s/guardian’s wishes, phone numbers and other information together in a safe place so you can easily find it in an emergency. Plan what you will do in an emergency. You will probably never need to use this plan, but it is invaluable in an emergency. As the boy scouts say, Be Prepared!
Link(s) to other useful online resources for schools on strategies in responding to a child/young person with this condition
There is little information on the web specifically for teachers – most of it is in book format. However there are some general information sites:
Haemophilia Foundation Victoria www.haemophiliavic.org.au
Haemophilia Foundation Australia www.haemophilia.org.au
RCH Education Institute www.rch.org.au/edinst/support.cfm?doc_id=10315