By: Barbara Bradley
It isn’t too early to be thinking aboutdiabetes summer camp for your child.
Do you have a specific camp in mind? Is thisthe first time your child is going as an insulinpump user? Have you set up a pre-campmedical physical?
Schedule the appointment now, becausecamp applications usually have early springapplication deadlines.
Camps Staffed With Pump Experts
Campers learn to live an active life with thepump. They discover they can participatein sports, take vacations, spend time awayfrom parents, meet new friends and gainconfidence in their own care.
You might be anxious about the staff’sexperience with insulin pumps. Campdirectors and staff should be able to answerthe following questions and satisfy yourconcerns:
- Do they have accommodations for pump users?
- Are the carbohydrate counts provided for the campers’ meals?
- Are extra snacks available, or will you be asked to supply them?
- Can the staff handle pump problems?
- Will they anticipate situations that could cause potential hypoglycemia?
- What is the plan for pump or blood glucose emergencies?
- Does the camp have a formal relationship with a local hospital or emergency services?
Is the camp staff at ease with insulin pump management?
Ask the camp administration if there is adiabetes management plan in place thatalso includes a policy for insulin pumpmanagement. The management planwill be similar to your child’s school planwith modifications aimed at preventinghypoglycemia. Expect a reduction in basalrates and meal bolus ratios due to plannedactivities and exercise during camp.
Ask about the staff’s education and training.Most camp staff and medical personnelshould be experienced with insulin pumptherapy. You might discover that many of thestaff members are insulin pump users.
Make Sure Your Child HasPlenty of Supplies
Once your child has been accepted to thecamp, expect to receive a list of suggestedand required items to pack. Plan to haveenough pump supplies and batteries thatwould be needed for each day away fromhome. Don’t expect the camp to providethe supplies. While some of the pumpcompanies might donate supplies to thecamp, don’t count on it. Manufacturerdonation budgets could be cut oreliminated. If you choose a day camp, youwill need to provide supplies to meet yourchild’s daily needs for diabetes care andpump management.
Each camper will need to have a detailedmedical form completed by the parents andthe physician managing diabetes. Pumpusers should record their basal and bolusratios and high blood glucose correctiondoses.
Take the time to prepare now, and you andyour child will have a more enjoyable andproblem-free experience. Happy camping!
In their position statement on diabetescare at diabetes camp, the American DiabetesAssociation says:
“Increasingly, children manage their diabeteswith an insulin infusion pump. The camp medicaldirector and other appropriate medical staffshould be familiar with the programming of insulinpumps, replacement of insulin infusion cathetersand adjustment of insulin dosing using continuousinsulin infusion therapy. The medical staff shouldensure that adequate pump supplies, including extrabatteries, are available for the duration of camp.”