Perceptions of Health Care Professionals on the Effects of Residential Summer Camp in their Patients

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A growing body of literature exists regarding medical specialty camps for children. However, very little of the research focuses on the perspectives of healthcare providers. This study explored perceptions of pediatric healthcare providers on a medical specialty camp for children.

Design and Methods:

Interviews with five volunteer physicians and five nurses were conducted and analyzed using inductive content analysis.


Results showed that healthcare providers perceived camp to be a positive influence on campers' normalization and healthcare ownership, and to strengthen patient-provider relationships. Providers contextualized their assertions by discussing the settings of camp and of patients. However, providers also identified multiple barriers perceived as limiting a camp experience's ability to create lasting changes in patients' attitudes or behaviors.


While healthcare providers in this study perceived camp as being a positive opportunity for patients, the potential for long-lasting effects was seen to be hindered by factors external to the camp and changes in patients' attitudes or behaviors can be difficult to ascribe to the camp experience.

Practice Implications:

Healthcare providers can reinforce and extend positive health behavior messages from camp at follow-up appointments. Adding inquiries about camp attendance and experiences to patients' visits can provide healthcare providers with additional insights about patients. Health outcomes before and after camp could be measured to assess change. Camps can send home patient protocols on successes and challenges.

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