Children gathered at Miami Beach March 13 to enjoy a day in the sun as part of Miami Children’s Hospitals weeklong Ventilated Assisted Children’s Center Camp. About 25 nurses and respiratory therapists, as well as more than 150 MCH volunteers, including high school students and firefighters, helped set up wheelchair paths over the sand and take the children into the water using floating wheelchairs.
More than 50 campers took part in the beach day, according to a news release. VACC Camp is a free camp designed for children who need a tracheostomy ventilator, C-Pap, BiPap or oxygen to support breathing. The nurses use bag mask ventilation during water time with the children.
Laura Hernandez, ARNP, MSN, nurse educator at MCH, has been volunteering at VACC camp for 15 years. “I volunteer at VACC camp because we see how parents, families and siblings blossom,” she said. “We change their lives for one week. Some of these children spend their lives indoors. This is an opportunity to thrive in the outdoors doing things they never get to experience.”
The camp also presents an educational opportunity for nursing students. “The children require a lot of clinical assessment and keen attention, especially when outdoors,” Hernandez said. “VACC Camp shows the nursing students a different side of nursing that requires the expertise and assessment of patients outside of the hospital environment.”
MCHs director of pulmonology and camp director Moises Simpser, MD, FAAP, FCCP, founded the camp in 1988. The camp draws families from across the nation and has inspired the creation of similar camps in other states. Camp activities promote family growth and development while enhancing individual self-esteem and social skills. “This is an amazing experience and one that I want to take part in over and over again,” said Lisa Linder, RN, for Palm Bay Hospital.
For more information about VACC Camp, visit VACCcamp.com.