Utility of camp for children with epilepsy: a retrospective

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the benefits of educational and recreational camping programs for children with epilepsy. Method: A retrospective review of data collected from all children attending annual epilepsy camps organized by the Croatian Epilepsy Association and the Zagreb City Office for Health during 8 years was performed. Children included were between 6 and 18 years of age. The staff of the camp includes child neurologists, a psychologist, neurology nurses and trained volunteers. Educational activities are designed to improve children’s knowledge of epilepsy, importance of taking medication, academic choices, suggested employment, and regulations regarding driving laws. These issues were discussed in groups or in single sessions, depending on the case. Other activities included supervised swimming, team sports, fun activities and games, arts and crafts and entertainment such as disco or movie night. Each of the participants filled out three questionnaires 1. General data questionnaire and pre-camp knowledge test; 2. Camp satis- faction questionnaire and post-camp knowledge test; 3. Questionnaire on adaptation to epilepsy in young people. Results: The analyses of surveys and tests showed that only 75% of children in camp knew that they had epilepsy. In 10% of children, friends and distant family members did not know about epilepsy. Comparing the knowledge test before and after the camp, the average percentage of correctly solved tasks on the first test is 65%, and on the second 87%. The answers in the questionnaire on adaptation to life with epilepsy are indicators of strong stigma in children with epilepsy. Conclusions: The main accomplishment of the camp was for children to gain confidence that they can reach their full potential in life and to feel equal to their peers in every aspect of life.
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 68, No 1, january-march 2024
Authors: Monika Kukuruzović, Ljerka Cvitanović-Šojat, Branka Divčić, Maja Batista, Kristina Kužnik, Iva Šeparović, Maša Malenica
Reference work: Paediatr Croat 2024;68:22-30
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13112/PC.2024.3

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