Medical Management and Education
Apart from the fun and games, there is the important educational aspect of Camp Sweeney: How to independently manage diabetes.
Camp Sweeney's medical management is conducted by a sizeable and talented staff which comprises the Southwestern Diabetic Physician Association.
Families have input in their child's medical management
Opening Day: Camp Sweeney provides an extensive intake interview with parents and campers to obtain medical history, current insulin dosages, meal plans and testing protocol.
Closing Day: Camp Sweeney provides individual sessions with families to summarize medical progress for three weeks and provide guidelines for easy transition to medical self-maintenance at home. Each family and its referring physician receive a copy of the medical progress report.
During each three-week session, weekly medical and counselor reports are mailed to each family.
Daily Medical Maintenance Program
Each camper tests his own blood glucose level five to seven times daily, plus additional times if a low blood sugar is suspected. Additionally, a urine glucose and ketone determination is performed each morning.
Medical staff members review the results before each meal to prescribe insulin dosages. All charts are reviewed again each evening to make adjustments for the next day.
Campers receive daily medical lectures tailored to each age category. But it's not boring stuff! For example, campers receive prizes for demonstrating knowledge about diabetes. It makes learning fun.
Daily "sick call" follows breakfast each morning, when medical staff members examine and diagnose campers who feel ill. Campers with sore throats, earaches, bug bites and blisters are patched up for the day's activities. Medical staff members are available 24 hours a day for emergencies.
All blood and urine testing, as well as insulin injections, pump boluses are performed in the individual cabins under the supervision of counselors and medical staff.
Campers are asked to bring any medications taken regularly other than for diabetes in their original containers. Diabetic supplies such as insulin, syringes, alcohol swabs and testing equipment are provided.
Constant Medical Supervision
Southwestern Diabetic Physician Association
Ten attending physicians rotate through each week at the camp. Other medical staff includes pediatric resident physicians from Children's Medical Center in Dallas, nurse educators, head counselors and medical students.
Resident physicians rotate during the summer as part of their training. Medical students and head counselors often spend three summers in the medical management program.
The on-site hospital houses a laboratory, an examining room, and patient beds for any camper requiring isolation. Any situation that requires medical treatment that is not available at the Camp Hospital can be accommodated at the Gainesville Hospital. In the event of an emergency, parents are notified as soon as possible.
Meal Management and Nutritional Aid
Meals are planned to combine basic nutritional needs and the favorite foods of youngsters. All meals are planned by a registered dietician according to the American Diabetes Association Exchange List so campers can maintain a "constant carbohydrate diet." Trays are prepared specifically for each camper, supplying his or her exact caloric needs. Additional "free foods" are provided for campers' enjoyment.
By teaching campers about fats, proteins and carbohydrates, Camp Sweeney helps them become independent in nutritional management.