We were searching for a method of engaging diverse groups of people in learning about end of life care issues.
The circle of life game proved to be a very versatile and effective way of addressing critical topics in such a way that
participants felt comfortable to learn and share with others.
We have used the game with groups of 6 up to 20. While the dynamics are different for each group, there is something
universal about the fun of game play which is exploited to draw out experiences from practice, challenge understanding
and develop new insights. Managers, nurses and carers have all found the game an enjoyable and informative experience.
As a facilitator, I particularly appreciated the flexibility to steer the direction of the game, adding micro teaching in response
to the questions and the participants’ level of knowledge. This level of interactivity produced a social learning climate that
participants were keen to actively engage with. It was clear that those involved were enjoying both the activity and the
learning without conscious effort, the true test of an excellent educational resource.
Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing
Department of Clinical Health Care * Faculty of Health and Life Sciences * Oxford Brookes University
Room MR1/39, Jack Straws Lane, Marston Road, Oxford, OX3 0FL
This game, (actually its rather more than a game), is a superb tool which promotes thoughtful learning around end of life
care issues. It is obvious to me that a creative and novel approach has been taken to address the often difficult issues that
are inherent at this complex time. It has been designed by two experts in this area and their passion and experience come
across clearly in its content and purpose. I would highly recommend “Circle of Life” Board Game.
Dr Simon Smith BSc MBBS DRCOG MRCGP DFFP Dip.Pall.Med
G.P and EoLC G.P Champion
We enjoyed playing the game of life and actually learnt a lot especially about advance care planning. The things we learnt
were actually memorable. The game was easy to understand and follow the instructions. We had a lot of fun discussing and
debating the various answers pertaining to mental capacity. The Facilitators explained the whole system in plain easy to
understand language which made more appealing to the team.
We have introduced the game to the team and it has generated a lot of interest from all staff involved who thought it
was very useful.
I would recommend this to any healthcare setting that was trying to understand how the mental capacity
assessment process works.
Deputy Care Home Manager
Ashchurch View Care Home
Colour Connection have been working closely with Gina and Maggie over the past couple of years. Gina and Maggie have
helped us gain business from Care Homes and Surgeries with clinical documentation already used by the NHS and which
we supply to the NHS. They are extremely knowledgeable and professional whilst being a joy to work with and are very
easy to get on with.
Tessa Falzon, NHS Account Manager, Colour Connection
I have been working closely with Gina King and Maggie Martin since early 2013, when they approached Colour Connection
about an idea for a training aid game for people involved in End of Life Care. We talked through the idea and how best to
produce the game. Gina and Maggie provided me with great detail about how they wanted the board to look, how the game
works and the purpose and aim of the game. I then created an initial design for a board and question cards, based on their
ideas. There were four sets of cards with ‘end of life’ related questions in the areas of ‘Policies’, ‘Best Interests’,
‘Communication’ and ‘Advance Care Planning’. The first version of the game was specifically for nursing and care staff
working with people with dementia. Maggie and Gina initially requested a small quantity of the games to use in a trial of
the game. As the trial was very successful, and after some modifications to questions based on feedback, 200 sets were
professionally produced. We have since produced a second version of the game, which is a generic version with a choice
of six sets of question cards, depending on the specialisation of the nursing home or department. Additional and
replacement topic areas for the questions were ‘Spirituality’, ‘Bereavement’, ‘Assessment’ and ‘Last Days’.
Gina and Maggie have been a pleasure to work with on what has turned out to be an exceptionally successful
project for them. Their deep understanding of the needs of people needing end of life care has been an inspiration.
Maggie and Gina always bring sunshine and laughter to the Colour Connection studio, with their light-hearted
and good-humoured approach!
Brendan Vaughan-Spruce, Graphic Designer, Colour Connection
Comments and feedback
“I thought was brilliant, in fact would have enjoyed longer on it.”
“I thought the board game was very creative. It helped this topic to be more memorable and it was really good fun
(a good team building exercise too).”
“I really liked it, apart from the couple of "odd" questions. I love learning that way and it sticks in my mind too”
“I did enjoy it. What I liked was that it got us talking and rationalizing some of the answers which I felt was helpful to learning.”
“Thought it was great! A brilliant way to engage everyone in this topic and get a good grip on what's involved in the
Mentally Capacity Act as it is such a detailed subject. Fantastic. Top marks to your invention.”
“Loved it. Lovely way to learn. Only wish my team had won, didn't help having me in the team!!!”
“Yes liked it in conjunction with the talk. Engaging and fun way of consolidating what we'd learned.”