Discussing life goals

https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6018 (Published 13 November 2019)

I’m writing to highlight another article in the BMJ written by a patient about goal setting. The article is very simple, about a patient raising the issue of taking up running in an asthma review. It is also very deep, and considers the difficulty of breaking into the nurse’s routine review to raise the issue.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework included many items on a checklist to cover in an asthma review, and even though we are post-QOF in Scotland, we are still using our QOF template.

Some of the suggestions for patient participation made by the article are already in use. For example our asthma nurse makes good use of the self-assessment tools on the Asthma UK website.

I think that the real challenge to our practice is to encourage patients to set their own agenda before their appointment, and to make that appointment a space where the patient’s goals are at the forefront. I plan to take the article in to our practice as part of our preparation for ‘House of Care’

As the patient writing the article says: ‘These appointment had never felt like a two way conversation where I had the space to ask as well as answer questions’. What a wake-up call to all of us who run chronic disease management clinics. This patient felt apologetic raising her goals at the consultation, and this was done at the end of the time with the nurse.

I felt so strongly that the patient goals should be the first, biggest thing about chronic disease management reviews that I took the article in to work, and gave it to our LTC nurses to read. We need to come up with a new language and way of that invites these conversations, that creates this teamwork between clinician and patient naturally.

Published by

Dr Kate

I am a GP in Benbecula, with interests in patient safety, human factors, and data.

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