Family goal setting tool welcomed, but barriers to holistic goal setting still exist

shutterstock_14786077 mother playing with two young children

Setting clear goals that stretch but are achievable and measurable is a key skill in bringing about change. The researchers in this Australian study were interested in how parents and people with learning disabilities experienced using the Family Goal Setting Tool, which aims to support people and their families to identify targets for change. The researchers were specifically interested in the tool’s perceived clinical utility during annual, collaborative goal setting.

They worked with eight parents and ten service providers working in a family and early childhood service in Queensland, Australia. Each of the participants, either a parent or a service provider, was interviewed individually.

They also ran a series of focus groups for service providers and analysed the transcripts to identify the main themes.

They found four main themes from the transcripts, which were:

  • facilitation of goal setting,
  • strengths-based focus,
  • family centred processes
  • family empowerment.

They found that the parents and service providers were positive about the use of the family goal setting tool, but did identify some barriers to goal setting as well as the use of the tool in a clinical setting.

Parents’ and Service Providers’ Perceptions of the Family Goal Setting Tool: A Pilot Study, Rodger S et al., in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 360–371

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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