Who can administer insulin and glucagon in school?

administering insulin and glucagon in school Diabetes Advocacy

Depending on the age of your child, when sending them back to school with diabetes, you may be wondering one of two things—Who can administer insulin to them during school hours? And who will administer Glucagon in an emergency situation? The answers to those questions depend on where you live.

Administering Insulin and Glucagon in the United States

If you live in the US and have a school nurse, it will be the nurse’s responsibility to assist with diabetes care.  He/she will also be responsible for the administering of Glucagon via injection or nasal spray.

If your school does not have a nurse, the American Diabetes Association states that you still cannot be made to go to school to care for your child’s diabetes.  The school must arrange for the training of staff members in necessary diabetes procedures like insulin injection and glucagon administration.

Administering Insulin and Glucagon in the United Kingdom

If you live in the United Kingdom, the situation is quite similar to the United States.  There is usually a pediatric diabetes specialist nurse assigned to the child with diabetes who will be responsible for care. Other staff members may be asked to support a child with diabetes but must first be trained.  Training usually will be done by a pediatric diabetes specialist nurse.  Once trained, staff members will be able to assist with both insulin injections and glucagon administration.

Insulin and Glucagon administration in Canada

In Canada, schools for the most part, no longer have full-time nurses.  In most districts, the injection of insulin falls to the parents.  They must either arrange someone to come to the school or do it themselves if the child is not old enough.

There are some provinces that do offer assistance, however.  Outside nursing services can sometimes be utilized to assist with the diabetes care of small children.  To find out the policy of your province, see our school policy section.

The administering of glucagon also depends upon where you live.  There are some boards that allow for a staff member to be trained in the administering of glucagon for emergency situations.  There are other boards however who are not as accommodating. Often when speaking with school staff, you will find someone who will gladly take on this responsibility.

What can you do?

No matter where you live, you should make sure to meet with the school staff before sending your child with diabetes back to the classroom. At that time, you can address the issue of insulin injections and the use of glucagon. Some staff may already be familiar with diabetes care or simply want to go that extra step to care for your child when they are at school.

Learn how to prepare for your first school meeting with our back to school ebook.

4 thoughts on “Who can administer insulin and glucagon in school?”

  1. Sometimes when we tell parents we did not have a school nurse on site then woudl demand we employ one. As you correctly stated that is not the law. We were very comfortable training non nurses to do this job. But it was always a tough sell. It is possible to teach a non nurse to do this job. Oh goodness it was always a tough day to start school with no nurse. No matter the health care issue.

  2. So kids are not allowed to administer insulin by themselves? What if a kid has a pump? Can the kid administer insulin through PDM by himself? Or is the nurse the only one allowed to do any administration of insulin? Thank you. I live in the US.

    1. In most cases, with older children who are independent with their care, injecting/bolusing at school is not an issue. Double check with your board or simply include it in your 504 plan.

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