Goal attainment scaling as a method of clinical service evaluation

Am J Occup Ther. 1990 Jun;44(6):519-25. doi: 10.5014/ajot.44.6.519.


The demand for clinical accountability and the documentation of therapeutic effectiveness continues to increase in health-related settings. Therapists are attempting to address this increasing demand by adapting methods based on traditional experimental models of research to evaluate their clinical practice. Experimental and quasi-experimental designs, however, are often limited usefulness in clinical environments for a variety of practical and ethical reasons. This paper presents a method of evaluating the effectiveness of a therapeutic intervention called goal attainment scaling, which involves goal setting procedures and assessment techniques that are practice-based and practitioner-oriented. The procedures are presented and the argument made that goal attainment scaling is a viable method by which one can document therapeutic change and demonstrate clinical accountability.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy / organization & administration
  • Occupational Therapy / standards*
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Professional Practice / standards
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Rehabilitation / standards