What are the components of a well-written goal?
Components of Goals
Goals are written as behavioral objectives. The behavioral objective is that skill that results in the desired consequence. It has to be well-defined so that our observations and measurements of behavior can be taken. A baseline is initially established so that then we can compare the client's progress.
The behavioral objective or goal represents the action plan by which we are going to help our clients get better. That goal is going to have five components. First is the participant, and that is the person who's going to exhibit or perform the skill or desired behavior. Second is the behavior. This is the task or skill that the person will do. The third is the condition, which is the requirements or circumstances necessary for the client to perform this behavior. Fourth is measurement. This is set objective criteria in which we have to be realistic, and it has to be measurable and observable against which we are going to measure their performance. Fifth is their product or functional outcome. This is the result of the behavior as it correlates to their activities of daily living, so the functional result of their performance.
Here's an example.
- Client (Participant)
- Will identify (Behavior)
- Articles of clothing upon presentation (Condition)
- With 80% accuracy (Measurement)
- In order to increase core ADL vocabulary (Functional Outcome)
Let’s go through all these components. The participant is the person who is making the change and receiving the skilled service. The client should be the participant. The therapist should never be the participant. We are never writing goals for ourselves.
The behavior has to be functional. We need to know how the client's level of success in therapy will affect their performance of daily life activities. What are the expected functional outcomes as a result of participation in that therapy program? Behaviors may be skills that are underlying factors to improved functional performance or functional tasks themselves.
The conditions have to be realistic. The expected outcomes should be appropriate for the client's current medical diagnosis, prognosis, and prior style of living. We need to know the level of assistance and the context in which that behavior occurs or the type of cueing that may be the criteria under which that behavior is judged. Here is an example of documentation. “Through the cues of trained caregivers” would be an appropriate statement or condition to include when measuring the client's response to strategies being developed. Keep in mind that goals can change during the course of treatment. This is okay, we just have to document the new goals and the reason for the change.
Measurement includes the tools we use to quantify a measure of the client's level of performance. Use objective data to describe function. These measurements may be a percentage, time, distance, number of trials, or level of assistance to complete the task.
The outcome describes the client's current level of function is versus the anticipated discharge level of function. The desired end result should be written in functional terms. This statement answers the question, so what? At times that may be difficult to relate a goal to functional activity. It may be helpful to consider the planned discharge location and the prior level of function when you establish your goals so that the client is able to achieve that desired outcome.