Optimising stroke survivor recovery; goal setting in community rehabilitation

What is this research about?

People who have had a stroke (stroke survivors) often have individual hopes for the future and goals they would like to achieve. Rehabilitation in the community aims to help stroke survivors meet these personal goals.


The Goal setting and Action Planning (G-AP) framework

The G-AP framework has been developed to help stroke survivors and rehabilitation staff work together to set and pursue rehabilitation goals.






A G-AP training programme has been developed to support rehabilitation staff to deliver G-AP in practice.






A G-AP manual has been developed to ensure stroke survivors have an accessible copy of their goals, plans and progress.







What are the aims of this research?

The G-AP programme of research aims to:

(i) understand how stroke survivors can be supported to pursue their goals, including those proving difficult to achieve.

(ii) develop different versions of the G-AP record to suit individual stroke survivors’ preferences and abilities.

(iii) understand how rehabilitation teams can be supported to implement G-AP in routine practice.

(iv) find out if G-AP helps stroke survivors’ recovery and improves the rehabilitation they receive.


Project Team

Dr Lesley Scobbie, an Occupational Therapist by background, leads the G-AP programme of research. Find out more about Lesley here: https://www.nmahp-ru.ac.uk/people/staff/lesley-scobbie/.

Eleanor Brown, a Speech and Language therapist by background, is a PhD student leading a project to develop accessible G-AP resources (Access G-AP) for stroke survivors with aphasia: https://www.nmahp-ru.ac.uk/people/staff/eleanor-brown/

Katie Elliott, an Occupational Therapist by background, is a PhD student leading a project to understand how rehabilitation teams can be supported to implement G-AP in routine practice: Katherine.Elliott@gcu.ac.uk 



CSO logo

Chief Scientists Office: August 2011 – July 2014

Goal setting in community based stroke rehabilitation: A feasibility and acceptability study of implementing a goal setting and action planning framework.

Final Report: https://www.cso.scot.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/DTF1102.pdf


Stroke Association logo

The Stroke Association: September 2016 – August 2021

Optimising stroke survivor recovery through effective goal setting practice in community based rehabilitation settings: implementing research to enhance practice and improve outcomes.

Research outline: https://www.stroke.org.uk/research/enhancing-stroke-survivor-recovery-through-effective-goal-setting-community-rehabilitation


Network funding logo

Scottish Government Neurological Care and Support Framework funding: April 2021-Dec 2021

Development and evaluation of a Goal setting and Action Planning (G-AP) web based training resource. This study will be completed in partnership with NHS Lanarkshire.



  1. Scobbie L, Thomson K, Pollock K, Evans J. Goal adjustment by people living with long-term conditions:  a scoping review of literature published from January 2007 to June 2018. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. 2020; DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2020.1774397
  2. Scobbie L, Brady MC, Duncan EAS & Wyke S. Goal attainment, adjustment and disengagement in the first year after stroke: A qualitative study. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. 2020; DOI: 10.1080/09602011.2020.1724803
  3. Scobbie L, Duncan EAS, Brady MC, Wyke S. Facilitators and “deal breakers”: a mixed methods study investigating implementation of the Goal setting and action planning (G-AP) framework in community rehabilitation teams. BMC Health Services Research 20, 791 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05651-2
  4. Brown SE, Brady MC, Worrall L & Scobbie L. A narrative review of communication accessibility for people with aphasia and implications for multi-disciplinary goal setting after stroke.  Aphasiology. 2020; DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2020.1759269
  5. Scobbie L, Duncan EAS, Brady MC, & Wyke S. Goal setting practice in services delivering community-based stroke rehabilitation: A United Kingdom (UK) wide survey, Disability and Rehabilitation. 2015,  37:14, 1291- 98, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2014.961652
  6. Scobbie, L. Dixon, D. A theoretically based approach to goal setting. In: Handbook of Rehabilitation Goal Setting.  Edited by Siegert, R., Levack, W. CRC Press 2015.
  7. Scobbie, L., McLean, D., Dixon, D. Wyke S. Implementing a framework for goal setting in community based stroke rehabilitation: a process evaluation. BMC Health Services Res 13, 190, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-13-190
  8. Scobbie L, Wyke S. Dixon, D. Goal setting and action planning in clinical rehabilitation: Development of a theoretically informed practice framework. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2011; 25(5) 468–482. DOI: 10.1177/0269215510389198
  9. Scobbie L. Wyke S, Dixon D. Identifying and applying psychological theory to setting and achieving rehabilitation goals. Clinical Rehabilitation 2009; 23:231-333. DOI: 10.1177/0269215509102981



We would like to thank all individuals and organisations who have contributed to our projects and especially the participants of our individual studies.


Contact us

If you would like to learn more about our research, please get in touch.

Email address: Lesley.Scobbie@gcu.ac.uk

Phone number: 0141 331 8582