Difficulties experienced in setting and achieving goals by participants for a falls prevention programme: a mixed methods evaluation

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To evaluate the ability of participants of a falls prevention programme to set and achieve goals.
The study used a prospective longitudinal design and a mixed-methods approach to data collection. Study participants were (1) 220 older adults participating in a 15-week combined exercise and education falls prevention programme and (2) 9 practitioners (3 home-care nurses, 5 community workers, and an exercise physiologist) involved in delivering the programme. Data from goal-setting forms were analyzed, and descriptive statistics were used to determine the number of appropriate goals set and achieved. Data were analyzed according to programme setting (home- or group-based) and whether or not participants were classified as being from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background in the Australian context. Semi-structured interviews with programme practitioners were thematically analyzed.
A total of 144 respondents (n=75 CALD group, n=41 non-CALD group, n=6 CALD home, n=22 non-CALD home) set 178 goals. Only 101 (57%) goals could be evaluated according to achievement, because participants set goals that focused on health state instead of behaviour, set goals not relevant to falls prevention, used inappropriate constructs to measure goal achievement, and either did not review their goals or dropped out of the programme before goal review. Of these 101 goals, 64 were achieved. Practitioners described their own difficulties in understanding the process of setting health behaviour goals along with communication, cultural, and logistic difficulties.
Both CALD and non-CALD participants and those participating in both group- and home-based programmes experienced difficulty in setting and achieving goals to facilitate behaviour change for falls prevention. Data suggest that home-based participants had more difficulty in setting goals than their group-based counterparts and, to a lesser extent, that CALD participants experienced more difficulty in setting goals than their non-CALD counterparts. The use of a guided approach to goal setting and the need for more specific practitioner training and follow-up support regarding goal setting in the context of a falls prevention programme should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413 - 422
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiotherapy Canada
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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