Goal setting within family care planning: families with complex needs

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OBJECTIVE: To identify the key goals that are established by children and parents from families in which parents have substance use and/or mental health problems, and the level of progress achieved towards goals over 1 year of case management.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Participants from three rural sites of a New South Wales non-government agency completed family care plans between 2008 and 2010. They included 44 parents and 41 children from 37 families where at least one parent had a dual diagnosis or mental illness. Family care plans were analysed to identify the frequency and progress of child and parent goals across 11 domains.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Goals identified by parents and children, and change scores over a 12-month period.

RESULTS: Children most frequently set goals to enhance their knowledge of mental illness, schooling, family connectedness and interpersonal skills. Parents most frequently set goals to improve their knowledge of mental health. Children recorded greatest goal achievement: in enhancing their mental health knowledge, community/social connectedness and accommodation needs. Parents recorded most goal progress in understanding developmental milestones of their children.

CONCLUSIONS: Goal setting appears to be an important mechanism for assisting families with complex needs. Clinicians need to address the mental health literacy of families where a parent has a substance use problem and/or mental illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S37-S39
Number of pages3
JournalThe Medical Journal of Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2013

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