A way with words: Using co-design to support goal setting in care

Grant Program RM Gibson Program
Awardee: Dr. Michael Lawless
Title of project: A way with words: Using co-design to support goal setting in care
Year Awarded: 2020
Year of completion: 2022


In 2020, Dr Michael Lawless received an RM Gibson Program grant that supported the co-design of a communication tool to promote goal setting in care planning for older people with multimorbidity.

Michael is a gerontology and health services researcher with a focus on knowledge translation. His research has focused on stakeholder perspectives on frailty and frailty screening, the impacts of frailty and multimorbidity on older people, and how to support older adults to live independently in their own home.

For Michael, this project idea emerged from previous qualitative research with older people, in which participants identified a need for user-friendly resources to support communication about health and wellbeing goals.

‘Goal setting is a recommended part of care planning for older people with multiple chronic conditions, but it’s rarely implemented in routine practice,’ says Michael.

‘And, until now, we haven’t had evidence-based and user-centred tools to support older people living with multimorbidity to participate effectively in goal setting during care planning.’

Michael used an experience-based co-design approach to involve multiple stakeholder perspectives in the development of a creative tool to support goal setting in care planning for older adults with multimorbidity. The outcome of the project was a 26-page A5 booklet called ‘My wellbeing journal’, designed with consumers to support conversations between patients, carers and healthcare teams.

‘Building on this project, I have been successful in obtaining additional seed funding to conduct usability testing of ‘My wellbeing journal’. I know this research will help promote healthy ageing by supporting older people and their supporters to participate actively in self-care and in goal setting discussions with their health care team as a part of personalised care planning.’