Older Adults’ Experiences of Goals in Health: A Systematic Review and Metasynthesis

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Objective: To synthesize older adults’ experiences and perceptions of goal setting and pursuit within health systems.
Methods: Six databases were searched to May 2019 using a combination of MeSH and free text terms. Included papers
were written in English and reported original qualitative research for participants aged 65 years and older. Participant quotes
from the results sections of included studies were gathered for thematic analysis and synthesis. Results: Initial search
yielded 9,845 articles, and 134 were identified for full-text review. Fifteen papers were included in the final synthesis. Two
main themes were identified: enablers (intrinsic and extrinsic) and barriers (personal and system). Conclusion: Older
adults’ self-belief is the strongest enabler for goal activities, enhanced by a personalized coaching approach from health staff.
Conversely, inconsistent goal terminology confuses patients and reduces engagement. Likewise, fatigue has profound physical
and cognitive impact on patients’ ability to engage and participate in goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-827
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Early online date12 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • aged
  • goals
  • qualitative research
  • review
  • self-efficacy
  • systematic review


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