Goal setting in neurological rehabilitation: patients' perspectives

R. C. Holliday, Claire Ballinger, E. D. Playford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Goal setting has been described as the core skill of rehabilitation professionals, but there is little information about patients understanding of goal setting. This study explored how in-patients with neurological impairments experienced two different types of goal setting and identified the issues that underpin individuals' experience of goal setting. The study took place in a neurological rehabilitation unit in which two approaches to goal setting were being used that differed in the amount of patient involvement. A qualitative research design was adopted. Six focus groups were convened, three for participants experiencing usual participation and three for those with increased involvement in goal setting. A total of 28 participants (12 women, mean age 49 years) with a variety of deficits were recruited to the study over nine months. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the focus group transcripts. Four themes were identified which impact on the ways in which in-patients make sense of goal setting: the rehabilitation process; personal response to goal setting; previous experience and disease limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-394
Number of pages6
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • patient perceptions
  • rehabilitation


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