What is a Treatment Goal?
In this module, you will be asked to educate patients and health professionals about cannabis as a potential treatment option. When considering treatments, clinicians must take into account what the goals of treatment, also called therapeutics objectives, are for a certain patient. Read on to learn more about treatment goals!
A treatment goal (also called a therapeutic objective) for a patient’s problem or medical condition defines what our endpoints/outcomes will be for the treatment plan selected for a problem, symptom, or medical condition.
In knowing what the potentially achievable goals of therapy are then you can explain to your patient what the benefits of their therapy can be.
Treatment goals are also used to monitor the treatment plan that we selected to ensure that the therapy is meeting the goals, and if not, then therapy will need to be re-evaluated.
A patient may have multiple treatment goals for a single symptom, condition, or disease.
Each treatment goal must be:
Realistically attainable with available therapeutic modalities.
Example: For a patient with chronic back pain, complete alleviation of the pain may not be possible…so instead a reasonable goal would be to alleviate the pain to a tolerable level.
Patient-specific – relates to the specific qualities and situation of a specific patient
Example: A non-specific treatment goal might be “reduce nausea,” while a patient-specific treatment goal might be “decrease episodes of chemotherapy-induced vomiting to less than 2 per day”
Clinically measurable – use objective parameters if possible
An “objective” parameter is one that can be observed or measured. A “subjective” parameter is one that the patient may experience, but that can’t be observed by another person
Objective parameters can help patients and providers “benchmark” progress in a treatment plan to determine if the plan is effective
Examples: episodes of nausea or vomiting, hours of sleep, number of panic attacks
Clinical Pearl! Pain is a subjective experience – only the person experiencing it can define how severe it is and what it feels like – that is why healthcare providers use a pain scale – to provide a baseline with which to measure success or failure of a pain treatment (i.e., does the number go up or down with treatment?)
More examples of treatment goals:
Reduce pain to a level of 4/10
Reduce knee pain to a level to allow walking the dog around the block once a day
Reduce GAD-7 score to 5 or less (you can learn more about the GAD-7 score by watching the optional lecture on assessing anxiety)
What is a Treatment Goal?