Care planning goals

Care planning: How to set the right goals

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How to set achieveable goals for your clients, no matter what they want to achieve

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." said  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the poet and author of The Little Prince.


He continued, "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. The one thing that matters is the effort."


But what’s all this got to do with care planning?


Setting goals is a key element of any care plan. Goals don’t always have to be lofty ambitions, but you should be able to understand what it is a person desires to achieve from your initial care planning conversations. So how should you go about goal setting? 


There are a number of methods, including the SMART method, which we talk about in detail here, but for the purposes of this blog we’re going to give a general overview of the key things you should consider when setting goals for the people in your care. 


Collaborative goal setting

The first thing to remember is that goal setting should be collaborative and agreed on by all parties. That means not just you and your care team, but the person at the centre, their families and any other external parties within their care circle, like GPs and social workers. 


Encourage people to focus on the areas that they self identify as their areas of greatest need and encourage them to set goals for the months ahead.

Examples might include:

  • being more active
  • not forgetting their medication
  • Dressing themselves

Setting specific and achievable goals – collaboratively with the individual – is fundamental to creating change.

Download a free SMART checklist for goal setting, here. 

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Download your printable SMART Goals checklist

Giving goals momentum

Setting a goal is just the first step of the process. Once the goal has been agreed you need to work together to agree an action plan and make decisions. 

The process should look something like this:

  • Discussion – assess motivation, and invite the individual to identify their needs.
  • Negotiation – decide on issues for discussion, then set and agree goals.
  • Decision making – develop and document an action plan to address these goals.
  • Review – monitor, review and adjust the plan as necessary.

If you’ve missed any of the steps above, you might not be ready for the goal setting stage yet.

Your action plan should include:

  • What the person is going to do
  • How often they are going to do it
  • When they are going to do it
  • How many days they are going to do it


We hope this article helps you to set the right goals for the people in your care. Don’t forget to check out the SMART method for care planning and download our SMART care planning checklist here

Want to see how Birdie could help? Our care planning tools make it easy to align your care tasks with goals, and real time reports help you to track progress over time. 

Chat with a Care Consultant today.

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