PEDIATRIC NURSING/November-December 2008/Vol. 34/No. 6
Evaluating a Residential
Asthma Camp Pro g r a m
And Ways to Incre a s e
he American Lung Association
– Southeast Region assessed
the effectiveness of a re s i d e n-
tial pediatric asthma camp
p rogram, Camp Breathe Easy, which is
in its 25th year of implementation. The
goal of Camp Breathe Easy is to pro-
vide an exceptional camp experience
for children with asthma by off e r i n g
specialized medical supervision in a
one-week overnight camp experience
for children with moderate to persistent
asthma. Children attending Camp
B reathe Easy re q u i re daily medical
management and are able to part i c i-
pate in a broad range of traditional
camp activities, including but not limit-
ed to swimming, canoeing, and
repelling off trees (American Lung
Association – Southeast Region, 2005).
Camp Breathe Easy is a valuable
i n t e r vention for children with persistent
asthma; due to the severity of their
asthma, many of these children may not
be able to participate in other overn i g h t
camps. Participants take part in a
unique experience where they learn
about the medical components of their
asthma, how to manage their asthma,
and the positive actions they can imple-
ment concerning their personal health.
A d d i t i o n a l l y, through key components
of medical supervision, autonomy, peer
s u p p o rt, and health education, childre n
who attend Camp Breathe Easy can
i n c rease the knowledge level of their
condition, as well as develop gre a t e r
self-esteem and coping skills, and learn
active lifestyle behaviors.
This study evaluated the eff e c t i v e-
ness of the Camp Breathe Easy pro-
gram by measuring asthma knowledge
gains of camp participants and rating
their overall camp experience. One hun-
d red fifty-one children with asthma
between the ages of 7 and 13 years who
attended a residential pediatric asthma
camp program (Camp Breathe Easy)
w e re enrolled in the study, and the chil-
d ren received information on asthma
disease management and education.
Camp education hours were 9:00 a.m.
to 4:00 p.m., and the camper asthma
education sessions were composed of
two to four 50-minute sessions sched-
uled at various times throughout the
camp day. Depending on the age of the
c a m p e r, sessions were designed as fun
games, reading lessons, and some
active participation. Education lessons
w e re age appropriate, and the learn i n g
objectives were as follows:
L e a rning and recognizing signs and
symptoms of asthma.
Trigger avoidance and enviro n-
mental re m e d i a t i o n .
Daily medication tre a t m e n t .
Treatment of exercise induced
a s t h m a .
Near the end of the camp week,