Can goal-setting for patients with multimorbidity improve outcomes in primary care? Cluster randomised feasibility trial

John Ford, Elizabeth Lenaghan, Charlotte Salter, David Turner, Alice Shiner, Allan B. Clark, Jamie Murdoch, Carole Green, Sarah James, Imogen Koopmans, Alistair Lipp, Annie Moseley, Tom Wade, Sandra Winterburn, Nicholas Steel

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Goal-setting is recommended for patients with multimorbidity, but there is little evidence to support its use in general practice.
To assess the feasibility of goal-setting for patients with multimorbidity, before undertaking a definitive trial.
Design and setting:
Cluster-randomised controlled feasibility trial of goal-setting compared to control in six general practices.
Adults with 2 or more long term health conditions and at risk of unplanned hospital admission.
General Practitioners (GPs) underwent training and patients were asked to consider goals before an initial goal-setting consultation and a follow-up consultation six months later. The control group received usual care planning.
Outcome measures:
Health-related quality of life (EQ5D5L), capability (ICEpop CAPability measure for Older people (ICECAP-O)), patient assessment of chronic illness care (PACIC) and health care use. All consultations were video or audio-recorded, and focus groups were held with participating GPs and patients.
Fifty-two participants were recruited with a response rate of 12%. Full follow-up data were available for 41. In the goal-setting group, mean age was 80.4 years 54% were female and the median number of prescribed medications was 13, compared to 77.2 years, 39% female and 11.5 medications in the control group. The mean initial consultation time was 23.0 minutes in the goal-setting group and 19.2 in the control group. Overall 28% of patient participants had no cognitive impairment. Participants set between one and three goals on a wide range of subjects, such as chronic disease management, walking, maintaining social and leisure interests, and weight management. Patient participants found goal-setting acceptable and would have liked more frequent follow-up. GPs unanimously liked goal-setting, felt it delivered more patient-centred care and highlighted the importance of training.
This goal-setting intervention was feasible to deliver in general practice. A larger, definitive study is needed to test its effectiveness.  
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere025332
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019

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