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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Camp Porcupine: Adventures in Working With Diabetic Children

Hi everyone,
My name is Brittany and I am a rising third year pharmacy student at PCSP. This summer I was given the opportunity to volunteer at a children’s diabetic summer camp held at the YMCA in Greenwood, SC. It was scheduled for a week for about 7 hours a day; however I was only able to attend one day. Each day the campers completed different activities. The medical staff consisted of pharmacists, student pharmacists, nurses and also student nurses. I really enjoyed how were able to collaborate with each other to help the children manage their diabetes.
We were split up into two different teams. Each team consisted of a combination of the medical staff and a variety of the campers (age, sex, type of diabetes). There were charts for each child to have a record of what went on throughout the day when their blood glucose was checked.  The first activity we did consisted of games. One team painted with arts and crafts and the other played bingo. Bingo consisted of diabetic terminology to enhance their knowledge about the disease state. I must add they did extremely well at this game! During each physical activity, we had to monitor each child to make sure they didn't become hypoglycemic (low blood glucose). Signs we looked for included lightheaded-ness, dizziness and perspiration. If a child seemed to be hypoglycemic, we would take them to the side and check their blood glucose. It is was low, we would give them something to help increase it such as a glucose powder pack or a snack. We would also monitor their hydration. Before and after lunch, they had to check their blood glucose. Most of the children wanted to check their own. They were champs! Prior to eating, they had to count their carbs. Each child got a slip of paper with the different meal options. Once they added up the amount of carbs they wanted to eat, they verified it with one of the health care professionals. Based on their blood glucose reading and how many carbs they were going to eat, we would determine if they needed an injection before or after they ate if they were insulin dependent. The campers would calculate the dose of insulin that was needed and verify it with the medical staff prior to injection.  If they were unsure of the dose, we would help them calculate it. After lunch, the children engaged in other physical activities.

                This week long camp provided the children opportunities to engage in fun activities and also allowed them to enhance their knowledge about how to manage their condition. The campers were able to make new friends with others who also had diabetes. I gained a lot out of this experience. From learning about this disease state hands on to working with other health care professionals, I hope to be able to volunteer at this camp again next year. 

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