Content » Vol 40, Issue 3

Perceptions of goal setting in a neurological rehabilitation unit: A qualitative study of patients, carers and staff

Carolyn A Young, Gavin P Manmathan, James CR Ward
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0147


Objective: To explore perceptions of goal setting from the perspective of patients, lay carers and rehabilitation staff.
Design: Semi-structured interviews analysed independently by 2 researchers using content analysis.
Setting: Neurological rehabilitation inpatient unit for adults.
Subjects: Four samples of 10 subjects each, comprising: (i) inpatients, (ii) patients discharged within the last 2 years, (iii) lay carers, (iv) staff. Patients, carers and staff had participated in at least 2 goal setting meetings, patients had any non-progressive neurological condition causing disability and need for inpatient rehabilitation.
Intervention: Goal setting meeting.
Main outcome measures: Themes identified independently before results triangulated to produce consensus list presented as frequency tables across 4 subject groups. Quotations from narratives used to clarify themes.
Results: All 4 groups considered goal setting to be beneficial, increasing motivation and providing reassurance for patients and carers. Carers found goal setting alleviated some anxieties and assisted active problem-solving coping strategies. Staff believed that goal setting made their practice more focused and collaborative because they were working towards stated and shared goals. Specific improvements were suggested regarding education, nature of goals, conduct of meetings and feedback.
Conclusion: Goal setting appears to provide psychological benefits to patients and carers.

Lay Abstract


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