Goal-setting in geriatric rehabilitation: Can the nursing profession meet patients' needs? A narrative review

Anne Marie Vaalburg, Elizabeth Wattel, Petra Boersma, Cees Hertogh, Robbert Gobbens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objective: To provide an overview of patients' needs concerning goal-setting, and indications of how those needs can be met by nurses. Methods: A narrative review. Pubmed and Cinahl were searched through March 1, 2020 for: patients' experiences concerning goal-setting and the role of nursing in rehabilitation. Additional articles were found through snowballing. A total of 22 articles were reviewed on patients' experiences, and 12 on the nursing role. Results: Patients need to be prepared for collaborating in goal-setting and to receive an explanation about their part in that process. The multiplicity of disciplines may cloud patients' understanding of the process. The nurse's planning of the rehabilitation process should be aimed at resolving this issue. Goals need to be meaningful, and patients need support in attaining them. The interpretive, integrative, and consoling functions of Kirkevold's nursing role are suitable to meet these needs. Conclusions: Both the literature about patients' needs regarding goal-setting and the nursing role make clear that the way nurses work in rehabilitation can gain in clarity. Strengthening the role of nurses will improve the goal-setting process for patients. Interprofessional collaboration, clear work procedures, continuity of care, time and trust, and the physical environment all are important to reinforce this role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-659
Number of pages12
JournalNursing Forum
Issue number3
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • geriatric rehabilitation
  • goal-setting
  • nursing role

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