Background and objective: Frail elderly patients have complex problems that require a multidimensional assessment and a range of treatment goals. Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) measures multiple, individualized goals, but its responsiveness in comparative clinical trials has not been established.
Methods: We assessed the responsiveness of GAS in a randomized, controlled trial of an interdisciplinary Mobile Geriatric Assessment Team (MGAT) in 265 rural frail older adults. Sensitivity to change was compared with standard measures; clinical meaningfulness was assessed in relation to a patient and a blinded physician global measure.
Results: At 3 months follow-up, GAS was the most responsive measure (standardized response mean 1.22, Norman's responsiveness statistic 0.58) compared with the Barthel Index (1.13, 0.46), Physical Self-Maintenance Scale (0.10, 0.16, 0.02), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (0.23, 0.00), and modified Spitzer Quality of Life Index (-0.04, 0.00).
Conclusions: Only GAS detected clinically important change associated with the MGAT intervention in these frail elderly patients. Clinometric measures can offer a responsive means of evaluating complex interventions.