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Together with a Finnish partner, Howest has developed an escape game around palliative care. The educational game, has been successfully tested by interns and students from the postgraduate Palliative Care programme and is now ready to be used as an innovative, educational tool for both nurses in training and professional healthcare providers.

Gamification as the new method for learning

The escape game was developed within the Erasmus+ project NursEduPal@Euro, which aims to improve the quality of higher education in palliative care nursing. "Within our Postgraduate in Palliative Care course, we use new teaching methods to complement traditional bedside training," explains Veerle Coupez, training manager of the postgraduate course.

"Gamification is one such innovative teaching method. In this regard, we have developed an escape game that helps to recognise palliative care needs in a timely manner. After the pilot with our Finnish partner, KAMK, and test rounds with our student internship mentors and the postgraduate students themselves, the escape game is now ready to be deployed within nursing education."

Verpleegkunde test escape game rond palliatieve zorg

A Serious game focused on palliative care

In the game, we are introduced to Marthe and Bert, a couple in their eighties. Marthe has dementia and has recently been hospitalised several times. When the home nurse arrives for daily morning care, there is a postcard under the door. It is the first clue for Marthe and Bert's social support. This is followed by puzzles around symptom control and comfort, meaning, carer support and interdisciplinary contacts.

Veerle Coupez: "This game was developed as a serious learning tool. So it is not primarily intended as entertainment, but rather to promote well-being and learning. To do this, it uses the activating nature of gaming, among other things."

Verpleegkunde test escape game rond palliatieve zorg

Training skills through play

"The game allows us to train different skills," said Veerle Coupez. "An escape game primarily requires teamwork, communication skills, and an eye for details. The different tasks are also useful in terms of decision-making and problem-solving. Importantly, the game experience is discussed afterwards. In fact, we use this game as an educational tool. A debriefing with constructive and focused feedback ensures that the players are actually learning."

Positive feedback

Testing over the past month shows the escape game is proving to be a hit. "In collaboration with ZoWe Nursing, we conducted an initial test at the end of October for the student internship mentors. A round of tests with postgraduate palliative care students followed in mid-November. Each time, the escape game received very positive feedback," concludes Veerle Coupez.

The escape game will be included in Howest's next postgraduate in Nursing specialising in palliative care.