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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2005 Sep;19(3):227-31.

A survey of goal-setting methods used in rehabilitation.

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Rehabilitation Group, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London.



This survey provides a description of the goal-setting methods that are currently being used in community and inpatient rehabilitation centers across the United Kingdom. Given current policy, emphasis was placed on finding out how much patient involvement in the goal-setting process exists, concentrating on how such involvement may be facilitated.


A postal survey design was used to access a large sample size over a broad geographical area. The questionnaire was piloted at a British Society for Rehabilitation Medicine (BSRM) meeting; subsequently, some response categories were expanded. The questionnaire was approved by the BSRM Research and Clinical Standards committee. Questionnaires were coded to track responses from individuals. The received data were anonymized and analyzed using a statistics package for social science (SPSS) database. Subjects. Members of the BSRM were selected for this survey because this represents one of the most comprehensive listings of rehabilitation services in the United Kingdom.


The survey had a 60% response rate. A problem-orientated approach to goal setting was most commonly reported, with rehabilitation teams defining, formulating, and evaluating the goals. Patients were supplied with limited information about goal setting during their rehabilitation admission, although 60% of respondents reported giving patients a copy of their goals. Thirty percent of respondents used goals as a measure of rehabilitation effectiveness. Standardized goal-setting measures were not commonly used.


These data demonstrate that individual disciplines tend to discuss potential goals with their patients during treatment sessions and then formulate goals on the basis of the discussion. There is scope to develop and refine the approach to goal setting so the patients have more opportunities to engage in the goal-setting process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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