Summer camp is drawing near, and your kids are looking forward to a break from their regular routines. However, required medications aren’t something that can take a break during summer camp. Find out what steps you can take to ensure your child has a pleasant camp experience in light of his or her medication needs.
Contact the Camp Director
Contact your child’s summer camp director to confirm the camp’s daily activities schedule. Find out which counselor will be directly working with your child. Although full-time camp directors generally have experience working with children with specific conditions, such as ADD and ADHD, a camp counselor may be as young as 18 or 19 years and not possess the same level of experience working with children in this capacity as an adult. This point is not to suggest that your child won’t be safe at camp, but you should be mindful that experience can vary from counselor to counselor.
Consider the Camp Length
How long will your child be away at camp? Is the camp a three-day overnight or a weeklong day camp? Keep in mind that camp counselors and camp staff will spend only a finite amount of time with your child, so they won’t have the full understanding of your child’s specific needs. When talking with camp staff about your child, provide as much information as you can to help them ensure your child’s health and wellness throughout the duration of the camp experience.
Meet with the Camp’s Health Supervisor
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requires a camp health supervisor to be present on camp premises when campers are present at a camp. The department defines a health supervisor as “a physician, registered nurse or nurse practitioner licensed in Maryland.” By law, “when 50% or more of the campers have identified medical problems, a Maryland-licensed physician or registered nurse must be on-site at all times when campers are present in a day or residential camp.”
Although the camp health supervisor may not have immediate knowledge of your child’s specific needs during your first contact with him or her, this professional should be able to detail how the camp will manage your child’s medication needs. Due to HIPAA Privacy Act guidelines, camp staff members will not be aware of your child’s medical condition unless you authorize the release of information to them. You can work with the camp health supervisor to ensure both you and camp staff are in agreement about your child’s health plan.
By taking the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your child maintains his or her medication schedule to experience the full joys of the summer camp experience.