Background and Purpose. An important part of treatment planning in physical therapy is effective goal-setting. The Guide to Physical Therapist Practice recommends that therapists identify the patient’s goals and objectives during the initial evaluation as a way to maximize treatment outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine whether therapists seek patient participation in goal-setting and, if so, with what methods. We also examined therapists’ attitudes toward participation and patient satisfaction with the evaluation encounter.

Subjects and Methods. Twenty-two physical therapists audiotaped the initial evaluation of 73 elder patients. The audiotaped evaluations were then scored using the Participation Methods Assessment Instrument to determine the frequency of attempts made by therapists to involve patients in goal-setting. Therapists and patients completed opinion surveys following the evaluations.

Results. Therapists’ use of participation methods during evaluations ranged from a minimum of one to a maximum of 19 out of 21 possible items (x=T0.1). Therapists believe that it is important to include patients in goal-setting activities and that outcomes will be improved if patients participate. Patients indicated that participation in goal-setting is important to them.

Conclusion. In most cases, therapists are not fully utilizing the potential that exists for patient participation in goal-setting. Patient and therapist education is needed to maximize the benefits of collaboration in rehabilitation.

Key Words: Patient participation, Collaboration, Goal-setting, Geriatric rehabilitation.

LLU Discipline

Physical Therapy


Allied Health Studies


School of Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Gail T. Rice

Second Advisor

Helen H. Marshak

Third Advisor

Grenith Zimmerman

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Physical Therapy; Patient Participation


Doctoral Project

Page Count

v: 59

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives