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  1. ITV Report

'Game of Stools' board game educating people about bowel health

The inventor of 'Game of Stools' says players get quite competitive when taking part. Credit: Betsi Cadwaladr UHB

A board game designed to educate healthcare workers about bowel health has proved so popular it has now gone into commercial production.

'Game of Stools' aims to make people more aware of the bacterial infection clostridium difficile, which can infect the bowel and cause diarrhoea.

Infection prevention nurse Gareth Pierce Jones, who came up with the idea for the game, said: "I wanted to keep it entertaining - so for example, you win ‘brownie points' for answering questions correctly."

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Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile or C. diff, is a challenge in healthcare because it can spread easily.

C.diff infections are common in places where many people take antibiotics and are in close contact with each other, such as hospitals and care homes, but it can spread in other community settings too.

Gareth, who works for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said he wanted to educate people about C.diff in a fun and interactive way.

My game is very informal and more relaxed than lecture theatre training. It encourages discussion between players.

There are lots of ways to win the game, which means that it often becomes very competitive when people play.

When I made it, I had no intention of it being commercialised - it was just for Betsi staff in our hospitals. But it was received so favourably that we began a larger trial.

– Gareth Pierce Jones, Game of Stools inventor
Gareth (left) said he wanted to educate people about C.diff in a fun way. Credit: Betsi Cadwaladr UHB

After his game proved so popular, Gareth received a grant to develop it further, which led to educational board games company Focus Games agreeing to manufacture it.

Melvin Bell, Director of Focus Games, said: “We’ve been making training games for healthcare professionals since 2004, and this is a fantastic addition. It’s fun, it’s informative and an essential training resource for staff and students in all frontline settings.”

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Gary Doherty, chief executive officer of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “This game gives you the opportunity to have fun, but more importantly learn about clostridium difficile, about how we can avoid it and about how we can treat it."