The role of the LAC nurse

The Looked After Children’s nurses are a team covering the whole of Kent who carry out each review health assessment. Currently there are 16 nurses, both male and female. Their role is to work closely with all agencies that may be involved in your health and wellbeing from social workers through to physiotherapists to ensure that they know what services can support you.

Each and every one of the nurses aims to work alongside you to help you meet your full potential, this means that aside from your review health assessments they may be able to adapt their services to meet your individual health needs. If there are things of a more sensitive nature that you want to discuss then you can speak with them confidentially. They do need to ensure that your safety is paramount which means sometimes you may tell them something that they need to discuss with your social worker, but you should be informed if this will happen.

When your LAC nurse sees you for your review health assessment you should be given details to contact the service or that nurse. If any questions ever come up, make them feel useful, get in touch! They may on occasion be able to meet you in venues outside of your home to discuss what you need. If you do not have the contact details for your nurse, contact their office on: 0300 1234 461 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, and someone will be able to speak with you.

What is a health assessment?

A health assessment is an opportunity to speak to a health professional about factors that may affect and influence your health along with any worries you may have. The Looked After Children’s nurses will request information from your social worker, GP and if appropriate other health care providers.

They want to make sure all your health needs are being met and that you have a GP, dentist, optician and that your immunisations are up to date.

If needed, they can refer and liaise with other health agencies to keep you fit and healthy.

It is your health assessment and your wishes and feelings are very important to them. They will listen to you and offer support where needed. The assessment takes place once a year but they can offer support at other times if you need it.

Why do I need a health assessment?

The law requires that all children and young people who are looked after have a health assessment. Most review health assessments are carried out by a suitably trained nurse but occasionally if you have ongoing health concerns a doctor may see you.

What happens?

Mostly the assessment is a discussion between you and the nurse. Your parent / carer or social worker can be invited but there will always be the opportunity for you to discuss your health in a private and confidential manner with the nurse alone.

You and the nurse will talk about:

  • Your general health - healthy eating, sleeping and exercise
  • Any medical appointments you may attend or health concerns you may have
  • Your immunisations, dental and optician appointments
  • Your education / work and any future aspirations
  • Your emotional health and well-being
  • Factors that may affect and influence your health such as drugs, smoking and alcohol, peer pressure, bullying and keeping safe online.
  • You will discuss issues that can affect young people such as exploitation, gangs and anything you may have experienced personally.
  • Sexual health as appropriate to you
  • You can add anything to your health assessment which you feel is right for you.

They will complete a health action plan with you to determine what help and support you may need

They will also offer to measure your height and weight.

Useful health links

NHS Choices – you can research health problems and find out more about staying healthy. It is also the place to find a doctor or a dentist.

Young Minds – if you are feeling low or have low self-esteem, look at this website for advice.

The Mix – Get information and support about a huge range of topics including sex and relationships, your body and mental health.

Get It – Order condom packs online for free and find out lots of information about sexual health

Talk to Frank – Frank helps you find out everything you might want to know about drugs (and some stuff you don’t).

Addaction – Find expert advice on drugs and alcohol for young people aged 10 – 17.

Mind – Find help and support if you are struggling with mental health problems.

Child Line – You can contact Child Line to talk about any worries you have whenever you want. Their website also has lots of information about topics that can affect your health.

Hope Again – support for young people after bereavement.

Bullying UK – Find advice and articles for young people about bullying.

NHS Choices – Find out how to get fit for free.

Eatwell – Learn about eating a healthy, balanced diet.