Let’s travel back in time. Back to a time when you wished you had a continuous IV drip of coffee. A time when your plate was overflowing with projects, exams, and clinical placements.
Whether you completed your degree two months ago or two decades ago, chances are you know what I’m talking about. School!
You probably learned all about goal writing back then (if you need a refresher, take a look at this blog post: 4 Questions Pediatric OT’s Can Ask to Make Goal Writing Easier, but have you ever wondered why you need to write goals? Sure, insurance is a factor, but that’s only the beginning.
Get Paid Faster
Yes, insurance is the easy and straightforward answer. Insurance companies require goals in your treatment plan. However, private pay clients may not request a treatment plan with goals, so why do we still write them? Goal writing and good pediatric therapy documentation play an important role in your patient’s treatment.
Plan More Effectively
After your initial evaluation, you should have a good idea of your patient’s current level and where they need to go from there. Goals help drive and guide that treatment, whether it’s a path to development or recovery. The goals are going to outline those steps needed for that path.
Get Better Results
Goals also help analyze treatment to determine the effectiveness of your selected interventions. You’ll be able to see if the patient is progressing, has plateaued, or declined. Analyzing the goal data allows you to make necessary adjustments to ensure the patient progresses.
Unify the Team
You didn’t pick this patient up at the supermarket because you noticed something abnormal. They were referred to you for a reason, because someone had concerns. You’ve listened to those concerns, completed your evaluation, and made recommendations.
Pediatric therapy is a collaborative process and those treatment goals are going to unite everyone involved (parent, teacher, doctor, etc.). Chances are you’re going to have recommendations for some of these people and it’s important that everyone is on the same page.
Improve Continuity of Treatment
Well-written goals facilitate continuity of treatment. Let’s face it, germs are rampant regardless of what clinical setting you are working in. Chances are you’re going to get sick– if not, I need your secret! When you call out, another therapist may be coming in to treat your caseload. If that substitute therapist was only given a list of your patent’s goals, would he/she know what to do? What if your patient moved and had to continue treatment at another clinic?
Motivate Your Patients
Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you check something off of your to-do list? Or when you received an “A” on a project you worked so hard on? Imagine how your patient will feel when they meet a goal.Knowing that your therapy is working is as important to the patient as it is to you! Having those little celebrations along the way when can be motivating for the patient and the family
How to Write Better Goals
So, we’ve given you six basic reasons why writing goals for pediatric therapy patients is important, but outlining goals in your treatment plan is important for a variety of reasons. As you complete your next evaluation, think about the goals you are writing and why you are writing them.
Want a deeper dive into writing effective goals for pediatric therapists? Click the image below to download our free Goal Writing 101 PowerPoint Presentation.