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15.1 Introduction to Goal Attainment Scaling

Last amended 
30 April 2021

What is Goal Attainment Scaling?

DVA uses Goal Attainment Scaling to develop personal goals for clients during the development of their Rehabilitation Plan

Providers work collaboratively with clients to tailor individual goals and to ensure they are appropriate and achievable. For each new goal, a scale is developed which describes specific outcomes.

Note: Goal Attainment Scaling is not required unless the client is participating in a whole‑of‑person Rehabilitation Plan which is being managed by a rehabilitation provider. This means that if a client is only being provided with specific services such as household services, attendant care services, assistance with motor vehicles, aids or appliances, then there is no requirement that the Goal Attainment Scaling process is used.


If a client sets a goal to "regain mobility outside of the home", the scale would identify the “expected” outcome for that individual, to be able to walk non-stop around their suburban block three times a week. A “more than expected” outcome would be to perform the walk five or six times a week. A “less than expected” outcome would be to only complete the walk once a week, or not at all.

Another example is shown in the diagram below with a goal to "find and sustain employment".

An image of Goal Attainment Scaling for a goal to secure and sustain employment


The importance of scaling to DVA and its clients

Goal Attainment Scaling is aligned with DVA’s rehabilitation best practice philosophy and emphasises the provision of individualised service and maximises client involvement in the development of plans and goals. Scaling formalises the collaborative element of the assessment and plan development process between provider and client.

Scaling improves DVA’s rehabilitation program by:

  • ensuring all parties have the same understanding of the client’s rehabilitation goals via collaborative development;
  • ensuring consistent expectations throughout the life of a Rehabilitation Plan by using well developed formal documentation; and
  • assessing and reporting on improvements and changes to life satisfaction and wellbeing.


Rehabilitation Goals are what the client wants to achieve through their rehabilitation plan.  They will have a vocational, medical management or psychosocial focus.  An example for each is provided below.

  • Vocational goal – return to sustainable part-time work.
  • Medical Management goal – identify appropriate medical professionals in my local area and start accessing treatment regularly.
  • Psychosocial goal – to increase level of social activity and community participation.

A client may be working towards a mix of vocational, medical management and/or psychosocial goals concurrently, or may initially focus on achieving specific types of goals (e.g. medical management goals) before moving on to others. This will be determined by what is most appropriate for each client given their individual circumstances and needs.