Camping with Patients: How seeing patients outside of the clinical setting affects views on patient care
This thesis focuses on the experiences of pediatric physicians and other medical professionals who serve campers with chronic illnesses and diagnoses through illness-specific partner camps associated with Camp For All in Burton, TX. Since literature on this topic is scarce, we supplemented existing literature with personal interviews. The object of these interviews was to evaluate the effects of patient interaction in a non-traditional setting on patient-campers, medical professionals, and the patient-doctor relationship. Our findings indicate that illness-specific camps benefit patient-campers by promoting self-empowerment, disease management, and normalization of the clinical experience. Medical professionals see many personal benefits of the camp environment, including personal rejuvenation, reinforcement of vocation, professional growth, strengthened patient-doctor relationships, and increased understanding of their patients’ conditions. The patient-doctor relationship is ultimately strengthened by the illness-specific camp environment.