American Family Children's Hospital

Wisconsin's First Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp a Success

Stroke Camp offers caregivers and survivors an opportunity to connect with othersOn October 4-6, 2013, UW Health's Comprehensive Stroke Center hosted a weekend for stroke survivors and caregivers at the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, WI. All available slots were filled for a combined attendance of 60 people including many volunteers from UW Health, and an extended visit from Robert Dempsey, MD, Manucher Javid professor and chair of neurological surgery at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Chris Whelley, MSN, CNRN, stroke program coordinator, worked to create this event by making connections with the nonprofit organization that runs these camps throughout the country. The appeal was the mix of fun, education, support group discussions, pampering and simply time away for attendees.

One of the goals was to give caregivers time to themselves by having volunteers take over the care of their loved one. The caregivers also met as a group for frank discussion about issues and topics that are difficult to discuss with survivors in the room. Stroke camp organizers consider this a critical way for them to understand that they are not alone.

Another goal was to simply let stroke survivors laugh, sing, spend time outside in a beautiful setting and be part of a supportive group that understands the challenges of post-stroke life. Comments from attendees indicated that their outlook became much more positive after the weekend. They felt they had a more complete understanding of what is going on with their recovery and what the potential is for getting stronger.

September 19-21, 2014 is the projected date of UW Health's next camp with registration already under way at