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Treatment goal setting for complex patients: protocol for a scoping review
  1. Agnes Grudniewicz1,2,
  2. Michelle Nelson1,
  3. Kerry Kuluski1,2,
  4. Vincci Lui3,
  5. Heather V Cunningham3,
  6. Jason X Nie1,
  7. Heather Colquhoun4,
  8. Walter P Wodchis2,
  9. Susan Taylor5,
  10. Mayura Loganathan6,
  11. Ross E Upshur1,7
  1. 1Collaboratory for Research and Innovation, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Gerstein Science Information Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5Health Quality Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6Sinai Health System, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  7. 7Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Agnes Grudniewicz; a.grudniewicz{at}


Introduction An increasing number of people are living longer with multiple health and social care needs, and may rely heavily on health system resources. When dealing with multiple conditions, patients, caregivers and healthcare providers (HCPs) often experience high treatment burden due to unclear care trajectories, a myriad of treatment decisions and few guidelines on how to manage care needs. By understanding patient and caregiver priorities, and setting treatment goals, HCPs may help improve patient outcomes and experiences. This study aims to examine the extent and nature of the literature on treatment goal setting in complex patients, identify gaps in evidence and areas for further inquiry and guide a research programme to develop definitions, measures and recommendations for treatment goal setting.

Methods and analysis This study protocol outlines a scoping review of the peer reviewed and the grey literature, using established scoping review methodology. Literature will be identified using a multidatabase and grey literature search strategy developed by two librarians. Papers and reports on the topic of goal setting that address complexity or complex patients will be included. Results of the search will be screened independently by two reviewers and included studies will be abstracted and charted in duplicate.

Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval is not required for this scoping review. Working with the knowledge users on the team, we will prepare educational materials and presentations to disseminate study findings to HCPs, caregivers and patients, and at relevant national and international conferences. Results will also be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

  • scoping review
  • comorbidity
  • multimorbidity
  • complex patients
  • goal setting
  • synthesis

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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