The Members of the Children in Care council met with Karen Hughes (Senior LAC Nurse) and Philippa Whittle (LAC Nurse) to ask questions in relation to Looked after children/young people’s health, these were the questions they asked and responses from Karen and Philippa:
How do I know if I’m pregnant? – Firstly your periods may stop, this is usually the first indication, other symptoms such as mood changes, and changes in your body depending how far along the pregnancy maybe. Nausea, sickness, however always seek advice if you may have had unprotected sex.
Can you get an STD from kissing? – This is unlikely
Is an implant 100% safe? – This is close to 100% effective form of contraception, only 100% effective is not to have unprotected sex. However the implant works effectively and is long lasting.
Where can you buy condoms? – You can get free condoms from FindItOut centres, GPs, hospitals, colleges and some schools.
Should I always make a boy wear a condom? – Condoms are protective barriers against sexually transmitted infections, so YES.
What does an STD look or feel like? – Symptoms are different depending on the STI, chlamydia for instance has no symptoms, but others might be sore tummy, sore genitals, itchiness, usual discharge. If you type in Google: sexualhealthwestsussex. This will search and bring up a list of all sexual health clinics.
Why do our LAC appointments have to happen in school time? – We try not to have these meetings in schools; there are only six full time LAC nurses to look after over 200 CLA, therefore there are not enough of us. Some of these meeting we do in school, as some young people prefer this, they might want to be away from their carer for instance. However we do ask the individual young people what they would prefer. Karen also stated that LAC nurses are commissioned and do not work with over 18s. SW stated “I would really like to still have this service” and that over 18s do still need that support.
Why do we have to have LAC nurses? Why can’t we see a normal doctor like everyone else? – This is because some young people have very complex and different health needs because of the experiences they may have had. As LAC nurses we work with the individual and have more time to spend. (The usual GPs appointment only lasts 10 minutes, if you have two issues; you have to book two appointments) We as LAC nurses have more experience and look at your health as a whole. The law says that legally this is what is required for CLA.
Can you explain more about the role of a LAC nurse as I didn’t understand when I came in to care/it wasn’t explained properly to me.
Karen passed round a leaflet, which CICC young people contributed in the design of. LAC nurses see young people individual, initially a health assessment is done to access the needs required, regular meeting/check-up are carried out to response to young people health needs.
Is there anything you can’t help with? – We can help with anything to do with health.
What support is there available for mental health? – There are some organisations such as CAMHS (Child adolescent mental health services) find it out centres, counselling. Support from LAC nurses to talk too, to help you try to find answers.
What information do you share with foster carers, who else do you share information with? Are you in communication with our GPs? What’s the difference between you and normal nurses and GP’s? – The confidentiality statement is on the leaflet but health summaries and your health care plan is shared at review meetings. If there are things that are private, they won’t go on your health summary or EHCP. Things wouldn’t be shared with your carer unless you agree and we would explain, and your safety/safeguarding reasons. Information is kept electronically, only held by LAC nurse, this is not available to GPs, they have to request or approval given by you.
- LAC Team Leaflet for Over 10 year olds (PDF, 2 pages).