Childcare Office

Intimate Care

Cambridge Universities Holiday Playscheme (CUHP) works with young children who may have intimate care needs. As such our Playworkers will be sensitive and respectful of children's needs and dignity.

Intimate care can be defined as care tasks of an intimate nature, associated with bodily functions, body products and personal hygiene which demand direct or indirect contact with or exposure of the genitals. Examples include care associated with continence and menstrual management as well as more ordinary tasks such as help with washing or bathing.

Children's dignity will be preserved and a high level of privacy, choice and control will be provided to them. Playworkers who provide intimate care to children have a high awareness of Safe Guarding Children issues. Playworkers behaviour is open to scrutiny and Playworkers at CUHP work in partnership with parents to provide continuity of care to children/young people wherever possible.

CUHP is committed to ensuring that all Playworkers responsible for the intimate care of children will undertake their duties in a professional manner at all times. CUHP recognises that Playworkers must treat all children with respect when intimate care is given. No child should be attended to in a way that causes distress or pain.

CUHP approach to best practice

All children who require intimate care are treated respectfully at all times; the child's welfare and dignity is of paramount importance.

Where possible: Playworkers will be trained in providing intimate care, and regard for Safeguarding Children and Health and Safety in moving and handling will be given. Apparatus will be provided to assist with children who need special arrangements following assessment from physiotherapist/occupational therapist as required.

Playworkers will be supported to adapt their practise in relation to the needs of individual children taking into account developmental changes such as the onset of puberty and menstruation.

There is careful communication with each child who needs help with intimate care in line with their preferred means of communication (verbal, symbolic, etc.) to discuss the child's needs and preferences. The child is aware of each procedure that is carried out and the reasons for it.

As a basic principle children will be supported to achieve the highest level of autonomy that is possible given their age and abilities. Playworkers will encourage each child to do as much for themselves as they can. This may mean, for example, giving the child responsibility for washing themselves. A risk assessment can address issues such as moving and handling, personal safety of the child and the Playworker.

Each child's right to privacy will be respected. Careful consideration will be given to each child's situation to determine how many Playworkers might need to be present when a child needs help with intimate care, however a minimum of two will be present to ensure both the child and Playworkers are safeguarded.

Wherever possible the same child will not be cared for by the same adult on a regular basis; there will be a rota of Playworkers known to the child who will take turns in providing care. This will ensure, as far as possible, that over-familiar relationships are discouraged from developing, while at the same time guarding against the care being carried out by a succession of completely different Playworkers.

Parents will be involved with their child's intimate care arrangements on a regular basis; a clear account of the agreed arrangements will be recorded on the child's care plan. The needs and wishes of children and parents will be carefully considered alongside any possible constraints.

Each child/young person can rely upon Playscheme as an advocate to whom they will be able to communicate any issues or concerns that they may have about the quality of care they receive.

The protection of children

The Local Children's Safeguarding Board's ’Recognising the Signs of Child Abuse’ and the DFES's ‘What to Do If You Think a Child Is Being Abused’ booklets will be accessible to Playworkers and adhered to.

Where appropriate, all children will be taught personal safety skills carefully matched to their level of development and understanding.

If a Playworker has any concerns about physical changes in a child's presentation, e.g. marks, bruises, soreness etc. they should report concerns to the Playscheme Co-ordinator and the children's Safeguarding Policy will be followed.

If a child becomes distressed or unhappy about being cared for by a particular Playworker, the matter will be looked into and outcomes recorded. Parents will be contacted at the earliest opportunity as part of this process in order to reach a resolution. Playworker schedules will be altered until the issue(s) are resolved so that the child's needs remain paramount. Further advice will be taken from outside agencies if necessary.

If a child makes an allegation against a Playworker, all necessary procedures will be followed, including following Allegation against a member of Staff which should include contacting LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer for Managing Allegations Against Those Working With Children) contact 01223 727967.

Dealing with bodily fluids/waste

Spillages of substances likely to result in the spread of infections will be dealt with rapidly and carefully. Blood, vomit, urine and faeces will be cleaned up immediately and disposed of safely and hygienically by double bagging and taken out of the setting. Playworkers will wear disposable plastic gloves and an apron and wash themselves thoroughly afterwards. Children will be kept well clear while such substances are being dealt with.

The Playscheme Co-ordinator and Playworkers are committed to taking all practicable steps to prevent and control the spread of infectious germs, and to uphold high standards of personal hygiene in order to minimise the risk of catching or spreading infection.

Policy reviewed 6 December 2011.