Implementing a framework for goal setting in community based stroke rehabilitation: a process evaluation

Lesley Scobbie*, Donald McLean, Diane Dixon, Edward Duncan, Sally Wyke

*Corresponding author for this work

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65 Citations (Scopus)
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Goal setting is considered ‘best practice’ in stroke rehabilitation; however, there is no consensus regarding the key components of goal setting interventions or how they should be optimally delivered in practice. We developed a theory-based goal setting and action planning framework (G-AP) to guide goal setting practice. G-AP has 4 stages: goal negotiation, goal setting, action planning & coping planning and appraisal & feedback. All stages are recorded in a patient-held record. In this study we examined the implementation, acceptability and perceived benefits of G-AP in one community rehabilitation team with people recovering from stroke.


G-AP was implemented for 6 months with 23 stroke patients. In-depth interviews with 8 patients and 8 health professionals were analysed thematically to investigate views of its implementation, acceptability and perceived benefits. Case notes of interviewed patients were analysed descriptively to assess the fidelity of G-AP implementation.


G-AP was mostly implemented according to protocol with deviations noted at the planning and appraisal and feedback stages. Each stage was felt to make a useful contribution to the overall process; however, in practice, goal negotiation and goal setting merged into one stage and the appraisal and feedback stage included an explicit decision making component. Only two issues were raised regarding G-APs acceptability: (i) health professionals were concerned about the impact of goal non-attainment on patient’s well-being (patients did not share their concerns), and (ii) some patients and health professionals found the patient-held record unhelpful. G-AP was felt to have a positive impact on patient goal attainment and professional goal setting practice. Collaborative partnerships between health professionals and patients were apparent throughout the process.


G-AP has been perceived as both beneficial and broadly acceptable in one community rehabilitation team; however, implementation of novel aspects of the framework was inconsistent. The regulatory function of goal non-attainment and the importance of creating flexible partnerships with patients have been highlighted. Further development of the G-AP framework, training package and patient held record is required to address the specific issues highlighted by this process evaluation. Further evaluation of G-AP is required across diverse community rehabilitation settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number190
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2013

Bibliographical note


This study was funded by the Alliance for Self Care research, which was funded by Scottish Funding Council, NHS Education for Scotland and Scottish Government. We are grateful to the ReACH team in NHS Forth Valley for participating in the research and to the patients who kindly agreed to be interviewed. The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of reviewers Dr Alex Pollock and Professor Marian Brady for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper and to the writing group in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Profession Research Unit at the University of Stirling. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the design expertise of Chris Wright, a system developer within NHS Forth Valley, for his contribution to the revised illustration of the G-AP framework.


  • framework
  • goal setting
  • community based
  • stroke rehabiliations
  • process evaluation
  • multi-disciplinary team


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