A simple way to get The Conversation started
Get the Big Conversation started and raise funds for Dying Matters at the same time.
The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2016 is ‘The Big Conversation’. During the week, which runs from 9-15 May, we will be encouraging members of the public to engage in conversations about dying, death and bereavement, because "Talking about dying won't make it happen!"
That's why we're delighted to support a card game which aims to get people thinking, talking and planning for their end of life. The Conversation Game is a simple card game designed to encourage conversations about the end of life. Since its creation, it has been used widely in health and social care, as well as by members of the public, to facilitate discussions about the end of life, prompting participants to think and talk about how they can have the best death possible. And, thanks to the generosity of its makers, we receive a percentage of the profits of every game sold through Dying Matters.
The Conversation Game consists of 36 cards, each of which carries a short statement about the things people often cite as being important to them in the last weeks or months of life. One of the cards is a 'wild card', which aims to encourage the expression of more personalised preferences and prompt further or deeper conversation.The individual sorts the cards and ranks them in order of priority of what’s important to them. They can then discuss with a friend, family member or someone caring for them why they sorted the cards in the way they did. The order the cards are placed in is flexible and can be changed at any time if circumstances change. The game can also be played in pairs or groups.
The aim of playing The Conversation Game is not to create a written list of what a patient wants but to stimulate conversations about what is important and why. The responses to the questions help those close to the person and any carers know how best to support them. The ultimate goal is to ensure end of life wishes, values and preferences are understood and honoured to provide quality of life at the end of life.
The cards were originally developed by a group of hospice and palliative care organisations in the US as a grant-funded project to assist people in starting advance care planning conversations. After being reviewed and amended by peer educators at the Lancaster University End of Life Care Observatory, the cards were piloted across the health and care sectors, reaching more than 2,000 staff.
A recent study found that patients preferred the use of The Conversation Game to discuss their end of life wishes rather than the list approach of a ‘Statement of Wishes’ type document.
Mary Matthiesen is the director of the Conversations for Life Programme, which raises awareness with individuals and communities of the importance of talking about end of life and sells The Conversation Game in the UK. She said: "These cards are wildly successful. When used in small or large groups, the room reliably erupts in lively conversations. Just about every group I have presented this exercise to have wanted to have the cards to keep, and many have now ordered them. Invariably someone in the room asks to keep a set for a friend, patient, elderly or family member they are seeing that evening."
The Conversation Game is suitable for use by social workers, health educators, care home staff and anyone meeting with patients and their loved ones to start conversations about end of life care.