Goal Setting

Collaborative goal setting provides a means by which to plan ahead, provide direction and establish a clear, mutually understood trajectory of the child’s management or treatment plan between the healthcare professional and parent or caregiver, and across the interdisciplinary team. Parent, and if possible child, participation in the development of the child’s own meaningful goals and treatment plan, provides:

  • confidence that their treatment team is working in a coordinated way to help them work towards goals that are important to them
  • consistency, e.g. commitment to one plan, across the Eating, Feeding, Swallowing team, and parent or caregivers
  • improved patient outcomes through shared decision making.

Steps of Goal Setting

Step 1: Collaboratively choose a goal that is important to the child and family.

Step 2: Explore ideas to break down the goal into smaller more manageable steps. Smaller steps enhance self-efficacy and goal attainment. Tools such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, Timely) can be used.

Step 3: Explore potential barriers that may impact goal achievement; manage expectations by discussing the amount of change desired, the speed at which the change may be accomplished, and the ease of accomplishing the change and effects this change will have on other aspects of the infant, child, or family’s life.

Step 4: Make one change at a time and record data to accurately track progress.

Step 5: Regularly review success as each goal is achieved (or steps within a goal) and before progressing to the next.

Step 6: Reassess goals on a regular basis to evaluate criteria for discharge.

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