Camp Onwards is a therapeutic camp for siblings of patients on oncology – both bereaved and non-bereaved, aged between 6-13 yrs. This group program has been running for over 20 years and is co-ordinated by the Occupational Therapists on Oncology.
Priority is given to siblings of children currently on treatment, siblings from the country and bereaved siblings. A psychosocial assessment also contributes to determining who would benefit from the therapeutic program.
Typically there are two camps in the year. One in the April school holidays and one in the October school holidays. The April camp is for bereaved and non- bereaved siblings and the October Camp is just for bereaved siblings [typically for siblings whose brother or sister died years ago].
NOTE: As PMH is moving next year in November, we have had to adjust our program. We will not be able to run the October Camp and are planning to schedule a sibling outing in July. Please contact the OT department for further information on the program for 2015.
The team recognises the unique needs of siblings in the family and the camp aims to address these and support the siblings through a difficult time.
- Normalise the sibling experience
- Provide the opportunity for peer support and development of friendship networks
- Provide an avenue for self expression in a safe and supported setting
- To provide coping strategies and reduce anxiety
- To provide an opportunity for the siblings to have fun and have their own special camp
- Camp allows for an effective screen to pick up siblings who need follow up support.
PROGRAM AND BENEFITS
The camp comprises of :
- Outdoor adventure group activities
- Social activities
- Psychosocial group activities
The camp is coordinated by the senior OT staff and members of the psychosocial team who work with the children also attend where possible eg the clinical psychologist, the music therapist, a nurse from the ward. Final year OT students attend as part of their final practicum, and volunteers. All staff have to have police clearances and working with children’s checks and personal character references.
The cost of running the camp is underwritten by the Kids Cancer Support Group.
Parents pay a nominal fee.
Contribution by the hospital is staff’s time.
The camp has been formally evaluated for clinical outcomes and results are published. Sidhu,R, Passmore,A, Baker,D  Pediatric Blood Cancer 2006;47:580–588
The camp is also evaluated in an on-going process and changes are made according to the needs and resources available to meet these.
Occupational Therapy Co-ordinator Oncology
Senior OT Oncology
Princess Margaret Hospital