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Currently, there is increasing recognition of the need to use a client-centred approach to goal setting in rehabilitation. However, there is limited research to guide practice with community-dwelling clients with acquired brain injury. An understanding of the characteristics of client-centred goals and the extent to which client-centeredness influences goal outcomes is required.
To examine the relationships between the client-centredness of goals and their characteristics, content, recall and outcomes of client-centred goals in brain injury rehabilitation.
A prospective cohort design study was employed. Participants were 45 clients with brain injury receiving outpatient rehabilitation, who completed measures of client-centredness after goal setting. Each goal was classified according to whether it was specific, measurable, non-jargonistic, and participation-focussed, included a timeframe and was recalled by participants.
Participants set 223 goals with 20 clinicians from multiple disciplines. Levels of client-centredness did not differ according to the characteristics, content and recall of goals, with the exception of goal specificity (p < 0.01). Client-centredness was significantly and positively correlated with goal outcomes (p < 0.05).
The use of client-centred goals is recommended for improved rehabilitation outcomes. Applying goal documentation criteria does not necessarily mean that goals will be client-centred, and highly specific goal statements may not reflect what is important and meaningful to clients.