Benefits of Camps

Camps for children with diabetes are run throughout the world and Australia is no
exception. For children with type 1 diabetes and their parents there is no respite from living with diabetes – it is a 24-hour, 7 day a week job.

Children and young people need support to reinforce they can live normal full lives with
diabetes. Camps promote self-management in an environment that is considered the norm.

Unsurprisingly, the demands of managing type 1 diabetes has a significant impact on the
mental and emotional health of a child or teenager.

According to the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group (APEG), the leading authority, the unrelenting diabetes treatment routine may:
• deprive a child of spontaneity
• make a child passive and create an inappropriate dependence on adults for decision-making and self-care
• bring up feelings of rebellion in some children and adolescents struggling with issues of
dependence
• make the child feel ‘damaged’ at a time when a strong sense of self and an unlimited
future are of key importance for psychological well-being.

Research shows that the effective care of children and adolescents with diabetes involves
not only careful medical management, but also sensitive attention to psychological
wellbeing.

APEG states that camps are more effective than traditional clinical programs in improving
outcomes for children with type 1 diabetes.
• The immediate and short-term impact of diabetes camps are children and
adolescents who are happier, more confident and feel more in charge of their
own lives, rather than passive victims of disease.
• In the medium-term, children have reported back that they have achieved better
metabolic control. In other words, they are healthier.
• In the long-term adults who have attended programs like camps report they are
not limited by their diabetes. Their attitudes and behaviours have been reshaped
and they can reap the long-term health benefits and the best chance at a normal
life.
“Diabetes Camps should be an integral component of overall care and
support for children and adolescents with diabetes in Australia” APEG

Key objectives of camps include:
• Fun in a safe environment
• Meeting, socialising and making friends with others with diabetes
• Comparing experiences, feeling less isolated and developing group support
• Becoming more independent in diabetes care
• Improving diabetes knowledge and skills
• Learning to adjust diabetes management for extra activity
• Increasing confidence in social and physical activities
• Encouraging a more positive outlook
• Allowing a break for the family from the routine of diabetes
• Supporting parents and carers
• Providing an important opportunity for staff training in paediatric diabetes
management

Camp also require a large staff complement to support the children. These include
credentialled diabetes educators (specialising in paediatric care), diabetes educators,
registered nurses, dietitians, peer leaders and qualified activity/outdoor specialists.

Evaluations of camps are available and contact details for some parents have been provided so you can learn about the lived experience.


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