Goal attainment scaling as a measure of clinically important change in nursing-home patients

Age Ageing. 1999 May;28(3):275-81. doi: 10.1093/ageing/28.3.275.


Objectives: To assess the feasibility, validity and responsiveness of an individualized measure--goal attainment scaling-in long-term care.

Design: Prospective descriptive study.

Setting: One academic and three community-based long-term care facilities.

Subjects: 53 nursing-home patients seen in consultation between July 1996 and June 1997.

Intervention: Specialized geriatric medicine consultation.

Main outcome measures: Effect size and relative efficiency of the Barthel index, hierarchical assessment of balance and mobility, global deterioration scale, axis 8 (behaviour) of the brief cognitive rating scale, cumulative illness rating scale and the goal attainment scale.

Results: Mean goal attainment scale at follow-up was 46+/-7. The goal attainment scale was the most responsive measure, with an effect size of 1.29 and a relative efficiency of 53.7. The goal attainment scale did not correlate well with the other measures (-0.22 to 0.17).

Conclusion: Goal attainment scaling is a feasible and responsive measure in long-term care. Although fewer problems in nursing-home patients than elderly inpatients are susceptible to intervention, clinically important goals can be achieved in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Dementia / rehabilitation
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation
  • Goals*
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results