Many parents are not aware of Individualized Health Care Plans (IHPs) and that schools are required to provide these plans to students.  IHPs can be beneficial to some students served by special education.  The information excerpted below comes from the Texas Guide to School Health Services manual by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

“School districts need to know the prevalence in their schools of children and adolescents with special health care needs.  The school system should conduct a health needs assessment to evaluate the number and type of students with special health care needs in the school population each year. … This school assessment should include all children with special health care needs and not be limited solely to those requiring special education services… through IDEA.  The student health needs assessment forms the basis for development of the health service program, and services to identify students in need of individualized care planning…. a health assessment should be conducted by a healthcare provider and reviewed by the school nurse.  Based on this assessment, the school nurse identifies those health issues that are relevant to the student’s educational progress and recommends services or program modifications that the student requires.”

“The school district is obligated to develop IHP policies and procedures in compliance with federal, state, and local health laws, state and federal education laws ..”  “The IHP is a collaborative process that includes the student’s parent or guardian, the student (when appropriate), the school nurse, the school physician, other school staff, community health providers, and medical specialists.  The school nurse should be identified as the student’s case manager, and resources in the community should be identified as needed.  The school nurse is responsible for coordinating and/or developing the IHP.”

“IHPs are individualized to each student’s medical, nursing, and educational needs.  The IHP is reviewed and revised on a yearly basis, or more frequently if necessary.”

“The IHP should also contain an Emergency Care Plan (ECP) for each student.”  “The assessment itself should always be performed by either a physician or a school nurse; it cannot be delegated to unlicensed health care personnel (UHP).  When the IHP is complete, it should be: (1) signed by the school nurse who wrote the plan, the student’s parents or guardian, and the student’s primary health care provider; and (2) attached to the student’s IEP or school health record.”

“Any training that will be needed for the nurse or other school personnel should also be identified at this meeting.  Training should be completed for staff who will be involved with the student, including teachers, lunchroom staff, bus drivers, etc.  Some elements of training may be specific to a particular student and require one-on-one training (i.e., by a family member)”.

The information above is quoted is from Chapter 7 of the Texas Guide to School Health Programs.  There is a lot of information provided in this chapter to assist school nurses in understanding their responsibility.  There is also information about various disabilities and Chronic Illness Protocols on allergies, asthma, diabetes; and seizure disorder.  The Texas Guide to School Health Program is available online at