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I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp in September 2004. I went to camp as a nurse and came home a camper. My childhood memory of camp is that of a wonderful, life affecting experience. Camp for stroke survivors and caregivers is all of that and more. I found my interactions with other campers to be humbling and personally rewarding.
As I continued to attend camps I began to formulate an idea regarding collecting information about campers and trying to determine what made this camp so effective for participants. At the early camps I talked to individuals, asked questions about their strokes and lives in general. I also asked questions about what camp meant to them. As my idea developed, I started a research project to begin collecting information more formally. I also wanted to be able to share the campers' story with the rest of the world. Working in health care and having a love of research helped me decide a study would be my contribution to the Stroke Camp concept.
The "What are the characteristics of survivors and caregivers attending a Stroke Camp?" study was officially started in 2008. Surveys from participating caregivers and survivors were collected in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2011, I focused the survey on caregivers and will continue the caregiver survey in 2012. The results of this research have been presented in poster and lecture form at the International Stroke Conference and included in the American Heart/American Stroke Association publications.
-Maureen Mathews, APN, CNP
2011 Stroke Caregiver Survey Results
Characteristics of Survivors and Caregivers Attending Stroke Camp
Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization