Aust Occup Ther J. 2021 Aug 3. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12758. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Goal setting is an integral part of the rehabilitation process and assists occupational therapists to target therapy towards achieving meaningful outcomes. People with mild cognitive impairment or dementia may experience barriers participating in goal setting due to preconceptions that the person cannot participate owing to changes in both cognitive and communicative abilities. The aim of this review was to identify goal setting approaches, common goals identified, and enablers and barriers to goal setting for people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia participating in specific rehabilitation programmes.
METHODS: Four electronic databases were searched in April 2020 for English language articles that described goal setting processes during a rehabilitation programme for people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Studies of all designs were included. Two authors screened citations and full text articles. Data were extracted, synthesised, and presented narratively.
RESULTS: Twenty-seven studies met the eligibility criteria. Both structured and nonstructured goal setting methods were used with common tools including the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, the Bangor Goal Setting Interview and Goal Attainment Scaling. The nature of goals tended to depend on the scope of the rehabilitation programme in which the person was involved. Goal setting was more difficult for people with more advanced symptoms of dementia and when staff lacked skills and experience working with people with dementia. Use of a structured approach to goal setting, establishment of therapeutic rapport, individualisation of goals, and family involvement were reported to be beneficial.
CONCLUSION: Collaborative goal setting is a foundation of rehabilitation for people with dementia and should not be avoided due to preconceptions that the person cannot participate. Results suggests that occupational therapists can use a number of strategies to maximise participation and engagement and play a pivotal role in upskilling staff to enable effective goal setting for people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
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