Getting Ready for Diabetes Camp?
It isn’t too early to be thinking about diabetes summer camp for your child.
Do you have a specific camp in mind? Is this the first time your child is going as an insulin pump user? Have you set up a pre-camp medical physical?
Schedule the appointment now, because camp applications usually have early spring application deadlines.
Camps Staffed With Pump Experts
Campers learn to live an active life with the pump. They discover they can participate in sports, take vacations, spend time away from parents, meet new friends and gain confidence in their own care.
You might be anxious about the staff’s experience with insulin pumps. Camp directors and staff should be able to answer the following questions and satisfy your concerns:
- Do they have accommodations for pump users? Is the camp staff at ease with insulin pump management?
- 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?
Ask the camp administration if there is a diabetes management plan in place that also includes a policy for insulin pump management. The management plan will be similar to your child’s school plan with modifications aimed at preventing hypoglycemia. Expect a reduction in basal rates and meal bolus ratios due to planned activities and exercise during camp.
Ask about the staff’s education and training. Most camp staff and medical personnel should be experienced with insulin pump therapy. You might discover that many of the staff members are insulin pump users.
Make Sure Your Child Has Plenty of Supplies
Once your child has been accepted to the camp, expect to receive a list of suggested and required items to pack. Plan to have enough pump supplies and batteries that would be needed for each day away from home. Don’t expect the camp to provide the supplies. While some of the pump companies might donate supplies to the camp, don’t count on it. Manufacturer donation budgets could be cut or eliminated. If you choose a day camp, you will need to provide supplies to meet your child’s daily needs for diabetes care and pump management.
Each camper will need to have a detailed medical form completed by the parents and the physician managing diabetes. Pump users should record their basal and bolus ratios and high blood glucose correction doses.
Take the time to prepare now, and you and your child will have a more enjoyable and problem-free experience. Happy camping!
In their position statement on diabetes care at diabetes camp, the American Diabetes Association says:
“Increasingly, children manage their diabetes with an insulin infusion pump. The camp medical director and other appropriate medical staff should be familiar with the programming of insulin pumps, replacement of insulin infusion catheters and adjustment of insulin dosing using continuous insulin infusion therapy. The medical staff should ensure that adequate pump supplies, including extra batteries, are available for the duration of camp.”