Q: How should our ministry address serious allergies?

A: Address serious allergies by preparing your staff and volunteers to handle allergic reactions.

  • Educating your staff and volunteers about the risk of harm to individuals with serious allergies (e.g., food allergies, bee sting allergies, latex allergies), and train them how to appropriately respond to an allergic reaction.
  • Working with legal counsel to develop a Special Medical Needs Agreement for parents or guardians to complete. This agreement should provide your ministry with the information it needs to monitor exposure to allergens as well as to respond quickly and appropriately to a reaction.
  • Documenting the ministry’s emergency procedures related to allergic reactions.
  • Providing regular emergency procedures training for staff and volunteers. This training should familiarize workers with the location of allergy-related medicines or equipment. This training may also include instruction on how to use an Epi-Pen® for certain allergic reactions. Epi-Pen® training should include instruction on identifying which minors should receive that treatment. Epi-Pen® treatments must be prescribed by a physician.

Prevention Policies

Because life-threatening allergies may be undiscovered, it is important for ministries to consider implementing prevention policies generally to avoid a surprise reaction. Changing snack procedures to use only “peanut free” products (as indicated by a special symbol on the product package) is one way a general policy can help prevent a reaction. Also, using latex-free gloves for diaper changing, food prep and other activities is a policy that will reduce the chances of a serious latex reaction.

Recommended Resources

If you found this information helpful, you might be interested in this other resource from Brotherhood Mutual:

Learn more about keeping snack time safe with our article, Managing Food Allergies.

Look over the Sample Special Medical Needs Agreement and review it with your attorney.

*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.

The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.