A hot topic in healthcare currently is health literacy, which is defined as the “degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Good health literacy means that people are able to make positive decisions that promote health in all aspects of life- health provision, exercise, healthy eating, etc. Health literacy is a very important aspect of life that can prevent negative health-related behaviors.

Kaitlin Pearson (p-y) Kelly Lambert (p-y) Lucy B. (s-y)True Friends’ summer camps provide a critical avenue that we believe can increase health literacy in participants. Camps such as Hemophilia camp, Camp Discovery and Brain Gains offer programs to increase participants’ ability to take charge of their own health and decisions. Core programs such as our Adult Retreats, Special Olympics camp, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Camp also include health literacy activities that enhance participants’ health literacy skills. True Friends will be using evidence-based techniques this year to run better programs that enhance health literacy.

Many individuals with disabilities face significant barriers that impact their ability to increase their health literacy and access to good health care (Scheer, Kroll, Neri, & Beatty, 2003). Camp offers a critical opportunity to promote these skills. With an increased emphasis in the healthcare field on preventative health measures, client-centered practice, and empowered decision making (Piskur, 2013), camp is more necessary than ever before.

By: Mel Kloek, Program Director of Camping

References:

Piskur, B. (2013). Social participation: Redesign of education, research and practice in occupational therapy. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 20: 2-8.

Scheer, J., Kroll, T., Neri, M., & Beatty, P. (2003). Access barriers for people with disabilities: The consumer’s perspective. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 13 (4), 221-230.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Healthy People 2010: Understanding and Improving Health. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.