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Palliative medicine education—Bed Race, The End of Life Board Game in undergraduates
  1. Dylan G Harris1,2 and
  2. Clea Atkinson3
  1. 1Palliative Care Department, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Merthyr Tydfil, UK
  2. 2Palliative Medicine Department, Cardiff University, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  3. 3Palliative Care Department, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dylan G Harris, Palliative Care Department, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 9DT, UK; dgharris{at}


Background Educational board games facilitate active learning to conceptualise knowledge, and, promote collaborative learning and team work. Despite increasing interest in them, use in palliative and end of life care has been very limited to date.

Method In ‘Bed race, The End of Life Game’, participants are divided into four teams who move a model hospital bed around a board to collect items (syringe driver; Do Not Attempt Resuscitation form; oral hydration gel; a ‘heart’; Just In Case medicines). To obtain items at themed ‘checkpoints’, each team needs to answer quiz questions, which require application of clinical knowledge and/or communication skills. Pregame and postgame quiz scores and feedback were collected from 12 game sessions involving 251 year 5 medical students.

Results 169 (67%) of students completed pregame and postgame anonymous quiz questions and free-text feedback. Postgame quiz scores were higher for each topic, and the difference in the paired pregame and postgame questionnaires was statistically significant (p<0.05). Themes from the free-text feedback included ‘engaging and fun’; ‘relevant learning’; ‘peer learning and team work’.

Conclusions Educational board games are not a new panacea for education, but the concept can be successfully applied in palliative care.

  • education and training
  • symptoms and symptom management
  • communication
  • terminal care

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  • Contributors CA and DGH both made substantial contributions to the design of the work, the data collection and analysis/interpretation and the drafting and revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.