The Shaw-NKF-NUH Children’s Kidney Centre (CKC) is a centre located in the National University Hospital that is specifically designed for the multidisciplinary holistic management of paediatric patients with kidney diseases and to cater to their families.
In 2000, Professor Yap Hui Kim advocated that these young patients with chronic kidney diseases should be given the opportunity to have various life experiences that other children their age enjoy. Activities such as overnight trips, high element activities, team activities, self-esteem building workshops were among the activities that Professor Yap envisioned our patients could participate in.
What started as a small group camp consisting of 10 patients together with 5 doctor and nurse volunteers has gradually developed into an established 3-day, 2-night camp for 60 patients and supported by a team of no less than 40 healthcare staff and volunteers. The doctors and nurses see to the various medical needs of the patients – some of whom require dialysis at night and catherisation – while the volunteers handle the logistics and caregiving of the patients.
Over the years, the camp has developed into a platform for these patients to interact with their peers who have similar chronic conditions. Through the team bonding activities and informal sharing, patients feel less isolated and more supported to cope with their illness. While learning to care for themselves, they also look out for one another even after the camp ends.
Despite the onset of COVID-19 and the restrictions that it has brought about, the CKC camp continued, albeit in a different manner.
Held virtually over 1.5 days, participants enjoyed fun-filled activities and sharing sessions online. Volunteers went the extra mile to deliver meals to each participant and their families to enjoy together, and provided technical support to ensure a smooth virtual experience.
The CKC camp has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings where the healthcare staff led in the planning of the camp. Today, older patients who have been regular participants of the camp return to join the organising committee. It is heartening to see patients, doctors and nurses work hand in hand to make the event a success every year. It is our hope that the camp will continue to be a springboard for patients to develop close bonds, support one another and aspire to lead quality, meaningful lives and contribute to society.