It is recommended that where children require intimate care, good practice guidelines are drawn up within the establishment and disseminated to all staff, children and young people and parents / careers.
When developing intimate care policies and / or individual intimate care plans practitioners should be aware of these increased vulnerabilities and seek to address these.
It is unrealistic to eliminate all risk but this vulnerability places an important responsibility on staff to act in accordance with agreed procedures, and where possible and appropriate for children, adolescents and or parents / carers to be involved in the development of their intimate care plan so they know where it may have been deviated from. There should also be clear escalation routes should a practitioner, parent/carer or child or young person believes that intimate care is not being undertaken in line with the agency’s intimate care policy, the individual care plan or with dignity and respect.
These guidelines should be viewed as expectations upon staff, which are designed to protect both children and staff alike. In situations where a member of staff potentially breaches these expectations, other staff should be able to question and consider this in a constructive manner, through discussing concerns with line managers, or other colleagues and their own organisations whistle blowing procedures.
Staff should be advised that if they are not comfortable with any aspect of the agreed guidelines, they should seek advice within the establishment. For example, if they do not wish to conduct intimate care on a 1:1 basis, this should be discussed, and alternative arrangements considered. For example, it may be possible to have a second member of staff in an adjoining room or nearby so that they are close to hand but do not compromise the child’s sense of privacy.
Intimate care plans should have the child’s safety, privacy and dignity at its centre.