Achieving Good Outcomes for Asthma Living (GOAL): mixed methods feasibility and pilot cluster randomised controlled trial of a practical intervention for eliciting, setting and achieving goals for adults with asthma

Gaylor Hoskins, Brian Williams, Purva Abhyanker, Peter Donnan, Edward AS Duncan, Hilary Pinnock, Marjon Van Der Pol, Petra Rauchhaus, Anne Taylor, Aziz Sheikh

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Despite being a core component of self-management, goal setting is rarely used in routine care. We piloted a primary care, nurse-led intervention (GOAL) for adults with asthma. Patients were invited to identify and prioritise their goals in preparation for discussing and negotiating an action/coping plan with the nurse at a routine asthma review.
The 18-month mixed-methods feasibility cluster pilot trial stratified then
randomised practices to deliver usual care (UC) or a goal-setting intervention
(GOAL). Practice asthma nurses and adult patients with active asthma were invited to participate. Primary outcome was asthma-specific quality-of-life. Semistructured interviews with a purposive patient sample (n=14) and 10 participating nurses explored GOAL perception. The constructs of Normalization Process Theory (NPT) were used to analyse and interpret data.
Ten practices participated (5 in each arm) exceeding our target of eight. However, only 48 patients (target 80) were recruited (18 in GOAL practices). At six months post-intervention, the difference in mean asthma-related quality-of-life (miniAQLQ) between intervention and control was 0.1 [GOAL 6.20: SD 0.76(CI 5.76–6.65) versus UC 6.1: SD 0.81(CI 5.63–6.57)], less than the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of 0.5. However, change from baseline was stronger in the 3 intervention group: at six months the change in the emotions sub-score was 0.8 for intervention versus 0.2 for control. Costs were higher in the intervention group by £22.17. Routine review with goal-setting was considered more holistic, enhancing rapport and enabling patients to become active rather than passive participants in healthcare. However, time was a major barrier for nurses who admitted screeningout
patient goals they believed were unrelated to asthma.
The difference in AQLQ score from baseline is larger in the intervention arm than
the control, indicating the intervention may have impact if appropriately
strengthened. The GOAL intervention changed the review dynamic and was well
received by patients, but necessitated additional time, which was problematic in
the confines of the traditional nurse appointment. Modification to recruitment
methods and further development of the intervention are needed before
proceeding to a definitive cluster randomised controlled trial.
Original languageEnglish
Article number584
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2016



  • asthma
  • complex interventions
  • goal setting
  • mixed methods
  • Pilot cluster RCT
  • self management

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