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Goal Planning Rather than Neuropsychological Tests Should Be Used to Structure and Evaluate Cognitive Rehabilitation
Brain Impairment, 4(1), 25-30
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Many studies of cognitive rehabilitation use neuropsychological tests to plan and evaluate treatment. This paper suggests that this is not a good rehabilitation procedure. The main purposes of rehabilitation are to achieve the maximum physical, psychological, social and vocational wellbeing of each individual and to enable people to return to their own, most appropriate environment. We do not engage in rehabilitation in order to help people achieve better scores on tests. This might be acceptable if there were a direct relationship between test scores and real life problems but there is not such a relationship. Although tests are useful in providing a picture of strengths and weaknesses, they are extremely limited in identifying everyday disabilities and handicaps. People can lead improved lives by compensating for or by-passing some of their cognitive problems yet remain unchanged on test scores. Conversely, they can improve on test scores yet remain severely handicapped in everyday life. One approach that is gaining ground in rehabilitation is goal planning. This allows patients/clients, their relatives and rehabilitation staff to negotiate appropriate and meaningful goals, determine how these should be achieved and measure success, or failure in real life situations Goal planning both reduces the artificial distinction between rehabilitation practice and outcome measures, and allows the integration of theory and practice. The processes and procedures involved in goal planning are described and followed by an evaluative discussion