Vitalogue E-learning Game Supports Advance Care Planning

A new educational resource is now available to help health-care professionals encourage and support important conversations about advance care planning between patients and their families.

Vitalogue: A game about Advance Care Planning is a scenario-based e-learning game, created through a collaboration involving St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph, Conversations Worth Having Waterloo Wellington, Hospice of Waterloo Region, Hospice Wellington, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHAWW).

Vitalogue was created by Dialectic, a Guelph-based e-learning solutions provider, and leverages insights from the Game Design and Development Program at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Advance care planning is the process of determining your future healthcare wishes and identifying a substitute decision maker to speak on your behalf in the event that you should ever be unable to make decisions about your own healthcare,” said Audrey Devitt, Waterloo Wellington Geriatric System Coordinator, CMHAWW. “Vitalogue will equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge, confidence and practical skills to encourage and support advanced care planning conversations between patients and their substitute decision makers and loved ones, which is important to alleviate stress among families.”

Vitalogue features an interactive story presented in a scrolling, comic-book style choose-your-own-adventure game, where people navigate key concepts of advance care planning, substitute decision making, capacity and consent, and difficult conversations. Each decision made along the way is weighted with a score, and, in the end, people discover whether their choices led to a good outcome for the main character, Yarsdel Nordstom.

“Because healthcare decision-making relies heavily on applying abstract concepts and principles to novel situations, a scenario-based experience was a clear design choice. We wanted healthcare professionals to practice the skills in real-world contexts, not merely learn more information in a way that was divorced from its application,” said Aaron Barth, President of Dialectic.  

The Vitalogue e-learning initiative is an outcome of the three-year Advance Care Planning project “Conversations Worth Having,” focused on educating healthcare professionals and residents; ensuring legislative compliance across healthcare settings; and improving support for caregivers.

Play Vitalogue: A game about Advance Care Planning

See The Making of Vitalogue (video)

About St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph

St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph has been serving the Guelph and Wellington community since the day it first opened its doors as a refuge for the sick, the injured, the frail, and the indigent in 1861. Today, it is Guelph’s leading, fully-accredited, not-for-profit provider of resident long-term care, complex continuing care, and rehabilitation services. The Health Centre also offers excellent community outreach services for people who live in their own homes but need a little assistance in their day-to-day lives. In addition, St. Joseph’s out-patient clinics offer a range of services in the areas of geriatrics, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech/language pathology, rheumatology, and bone densitometry.

About Dialectic

Dialectic creates immersive e-learning, organizational change and customer engagement experiences – powered by science and smart multimedia design – to solve problems and elevate performance. We illuminate core challenges and design an ideal solution, based on our expertise in behavioural science, psychology, education and creative design arts, to change thinking and elevate outcomes.

About Conversations Worth Having Waterloo Wellington

In 2015, Hospice Waterloo Region partnered with Hospice Wellington to launch a three-year project focused on Advance Care Planning and Health Care Consent. With three dedicated staff and funding from the Ministry of Health, the project reached out to community and health care settings as critical sites for engagement and education. The staff engaged individuals and groups across the community and health care sectors to raise awareness, build correct understanding and encourage Advance Care Planning conversations. The project funding came to a close in April 2018 but both Hospice Waterloo Region and Hospice Wellington continue to coordinate community education and provide resources across Waterloo Wellington.


For more information please contact:

Audrey Devitt
Waterloo Wellington Geriatric System Coordinator
Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington

Aaron Barth

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