Camp Draws You Back Into Life Again: Exploring the Impact of a Therapeutic Recreation-Based Bereavement Camp for Families Who Have Lost a Child to Serious Illness

Omega (Westport). 2022 Apr 19:302228221075282. doi: 10.1177/00302228221075282. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

This qualitative study explores the perceptions of impact associated with engaging in a therapeutic recreation-based bereavement camp for families whose child has died from serious illness. Interviews were completed with 12 parents who had participated in a three-camp cycle of the program over 12-month period, including a subgroup who had also attended a reunion camp. Interviews were also conducted with program staff. Thematic analysis generated key themes relating to the perceived impact which suggest that those engaged in this program perceived positive contributions associated with participation, including perceptions of positive impact on coping with bereavement, access to support and implications for family functioning. This study highlights the areas of impact associated with engagement in a therapeutic recreation-based bereavement intervention, and the potential contribution of wider access to these programs for families whose child has died from serious illness.

Keywords: bereavement; childhood; family; serious illness; therapeutic recreation.