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P437 Confidence, acceptance, and friendship: the 3 winners at Camp Purple Live 2015

A. McCombie*1, 2, R. Gearry3, R. Lopez4, S. Lönnfors5, A. Day4

1University of Otago, Department of Surgery, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2University of Otago, Department of Medicine, Dunedin, New Zealand, 3University of Otago, Department of Medicine, Christchurch, New Zealand, 4University of Otago, Department of Paediatrics, Christchurch, New Zealand, 5European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations, Medical Writing, Brussels, Belgium

Background

Paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), especially Crohn’s disease (CD), is becoming more common worldwide.1 It can affect children in terms of their confidence, acceptance, and ability to build friendships. Summer camps may provide a means of overcoming the difficulties caused by IBD.2 New Zealand held its first summer camp for children and adolescents (aged 9–19) with IBD, Camp Purple Live, held January 25–30, 2015 (Figure 1).

Campers and volunteers at Camp Purple Live, 2015.

The camp’s objectives were to build confidence, independence, self- esteem, resilience, empowerment, knowledge of IBD, and social networks of the campers. This study aimed to obtain feedback from the attendees in terms of their confidence, acceptance, and quality of life. Qualitative answers about the campers’ experiences were also sought.

Methods

Camp attendees were invited to complete a brief online survey about their experiences at the camp. This survey was based on one that has been used previously in Europe.3 They were asked if it improved their acceptance of their IBD, confidence in dealing with IBD, and quality of life. They were also asked what experience was most beneficial to them, whether they made new friends with IBD, and if they would attend the camp again. Lastly, they were also asked open-ended questions about the camp.

Results

In total, 36 campers responded (81.8% response rate; mean age 14.1; 83.3% Crohn’s disease; 41.7% female). The vast majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the camp improved their confidence in dealing with IBD (86.1%), their acceptance of having IBD (83.3%), and their overall quality of life (75.0%). Most reported that meeting their fellow campers was the most beneficial experience to come from the camp (72.2%). Moreover, there was some encouraging qualitative feedback (Table 1).

Table 1 Positive qualitative feedback of campers

‘I really liked how all the kids at the camp had Crohn’s. I didn’t talk to any kids about Crohn’s but it was kind of cool how everyone had to line up to get their meds. Normally I hate taking my meds. Everyone else was taking their meds too.’
‘[I enjoyed] meeting other people my age who’ve gone through exactly what I’ve gone through. Swapping war stories with them. Seeing older people with Crohn’s not letting it stop them.’
‘I really enjoyed the fact that I was able to help encourage other people with Crohn’s at the camp and that I was able to contribute in every activity.’
‘I would love to have the next Crohn’s and colitis camp next year! I want to go back again!’

Conclusion

Given the amount of voluntary time and monetary sponsorship that went into running the camp, it was great that the camp had such a positive effect on the campers. Camps should be used not just in New Zealand, but also worldwide.

References:

[1] Benchimol EI, Fortinsky KJ, Gozdyra P, et al., Epidemiology of paediatric inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review of international trends. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2011;17(1):423–39.

[3] Lönnfors S and McCombie A. ‘Now I know I’m not alone’: participating in a disease-specific summer camp improves the quality of life of young people with inflammatory bowel disease. J Crohns and Colitis 2015: S3245–, http://ecco-jcc.oxfordjournals.org/content/9/suppl_1/S324.2. Accessed Jan. 10, 2016.

[2] Salazar G and Heyman MB. Benefits of attending a summer camp for children with inflammatory bowel disease, J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2014;59(1):33–38.