Medical Matters

A comprehensive health form should be a part of the registration process. The form includes name, address, emergency contact numbers, parents (or guardian’s) name, allergies, medicines and health insurance. A section should also be available for parents to communicate any information needed to treat their child. A section should list the over-the-counter medications in your health station so parents can opt out of certain meds. Finally, there should be a parental release to be signed, which gives medical personnel the authority to treat the child in case of an emergency. In many states today, online health form signatures are acceptable.

The First-Aid Station

A health station should be properly sized and equipped. The size will be determined by your needs, as well as by local regulations. There are three areas for a first-aid station:

· Triage–The first room a camper enters. It includes most first-aid supplies, a table or medical couch.

· Bed area–This is where a patient stays for a longer period of time. If there is more than one bed, they should be separated from each other.

· Nurse living quarters–This should be adjacent to or near the other two areas.

Health Screening

A health-screen stop in the registration check-in process is important and should be required. The form should be completed by the parent that day. It can be very simple, but should include updates to the health records, such as recent issues, exposures or current illnesses, since many of these may have changed since the original health form was completed. The second element should be a temperature check, which can be done with either an ear- or forehead thermometer. If the temp is above 100, then the child should sit in air conditioning for a short period of time before being rechecked. If the temp is still high, the child should be sent home until the fever is gone for 24 hours. To do otherwise exposes all the other people at your facility to possible infection. Other health check issues can be dictated by local needs, such as a head lice check, etc. Be sure to consider them when preparing a health-screening checklist.

Food Allergies

No doubt, when parents complete the health form for their child, they may have listed certain food allergies that the office and service staffs need to know about. The food service personnel then need a system (perhaps special ID bracelets) to track these children and their allergies.


Various types and levels of sickness may occur when youth and adults live in a resident camp setting. The most common types include upset stomach, homesickness, fever and constipation. If a camper has a fever or potential infection that is contagious, that camper must be isolated and perhaps even sent home. Once again, after treating the camper, the health and safety of all other campers and staff must be considered. The camper’s name, your name, the complaint and the treatment should be compiled in a health log.

In Case Of Injury

No matter how many safety precautions are in place, accidents and injuries will happen. It is critical that camp staff is constantly on the lookout for areas where accidents may occur. A camp facility should be free from as many “potential hazards” as possible. Despite that, accidents happen, and often in the strangest ways. I remember one afternoon when we took three campers to the emergency room due to accidents playing whiffle ball! Most camp accidents fall into the category of minor. They include cuts and scrapes, bruises, twists and sprains. Occasionally, there is a broken bone, and infrequently something more serious, such as a head injury. It is imperative to have in place proper procedures to handle these unexpected events. Who does what? How soon are parents contacted? Who travels with a camper to the emergency room? These are all questions that must be answered prior to any incident.

As with sicknesses, all accidents should be properly documented in a health log. Of course, the treatment of the youth or adult comes first, but then the immediate second step is to document all details. Many camps have policies that require the health personnel to contact management so that accidents can be followed up.

Hazardous Waste Disposal

There should also be a provision in your first-aid station for items such as needles and sharps. Proper containers are available from various vendors that keep these items contained and safe for proper disposal. A policy should be in place for the proper materials for cleanup and disposal of blood and vomit.

Records And Reporting

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