6. Monitoring progress

The keys to monitoring progress is:

  • Asking good questions about how things are going
  • Helping the individual review progress


How to ask about how things are going?

This is one of the most difficult things for a person with a brain injury to do. They may not ask themselves questions about what they are doing and therefore may not realise if they are making a mistake. Questions can be asked to draw their attention to what they are doing and how they are doing it.

For example,

  • "How long do you have to leave that for?"
  • "When do you need to check it?"
  • "Is it time to check it?"
  • "Is that how you would normally do that?"
  • "What did the instructions say to do?"
  • "Are they the same?"

At the end of the activity, it is useful to get the individual to reflect on what they did, how they did it, what went well, what didn't go as planned and if there is any way they would change it next time. For some people with a brain injury it may be difficult for them to remember this information.

This is where information and feedback can be provided about how they went. It is important to highlight what they did well as well as what they had difficulty with. It is much easier to give good feedback as compared to areas of difficulty. Ask them questions about their own performance.

For example,

  • "How do you think you went?"
  • "Did everything go as you wanted it to?"
  • "What did you think you did well?"
  • "What areas could you improve on?"

If they are unable to recall in detail how they went, prompt them about their performance in a specific area where improvement could happen or which was a strength.

For example,

  • "What about when the chips were spitting fat?"
  • "What did you do?"
  • "Do you think it was smart to throw water on them?"
  • "What could you have done that would have been better?"
  • "Do you think that turning down the heat may be a better idea next time?"

The type of input provided does not have to be as clinical as these questions sound. By knowing what needs to be looked for and enabling the individual to be doing this, the questions asked and how they are asked, will become second nature. It is imperative the helper knows what the individual is working towards in the activity, what the individual is wanting to achieve. Consistency is the key.

Everyone, paid or unpaid carer, family and rehabilitation professionals should all be working with the individual toward their goals, using the same strategies.


To review progress one needs to have already identified:

  • Issues
  • Goals
  • Strategies
  • Priorities

The following review steps assume that Worksheets 1 and 2 have already been completed.

A. Identify a review date.

Worksheet 2: Goals
You set a review date to give you an opportunity to review your progress. The date may be four weeks after you've set the goal or it may be a longer or shorter period of time. It depends whether your goal is a short or long-term one. Make sure you leave yourself a lot of time to practice the strategies.

When you have set this date, write down on a wall calendar or in your diary - "Review goals". This will remind you to keep reviewing your progress. See Section 13 Managing time, to see how to set up a diary or wall calendar.

Remember to tell others of this review date. Especially if you are working with other people to achieve your goals. They can then be present to review your goals with you. They can provide you with some feedback on how you are going.

B. Review progress - Worksheet 2: Goals

On the review date you set when you developed your goals, you need to go back to Worksheet 2- your goals and measure your progress. You will then know if you have achieved your goals, if you are still working toward them, if your strategies need to be changed, or if you can now work toward it by yourself or you may need to seek assistance from another.
If you are still working toward achieving your goal you need to:

  • set a new review date, write it in your diary or on your wall calendar and tell others involved.
  • add any new or changed steps you are going to try to achieve your goals in the strategy column.

Remember that achieving goals takes a lot of hard work - sometimes longer than we think. Keep on trying if at first you don't achieve. Persistence is the key!

C. Review progress involving others

If you are working with others, you may also have a review meeting. Depending on who you are working with, there may be a number of different services involved some or all of them may come along.

Refer to Section 11 Remembering Information and Messages for ideas on how to keep track of what is said in the meetings.
Worksheet 17: Meeting Minutes may help.

Worksheet 17

In summary there are four ways to review goal progress if you are working with others. Attend a meeting and:

A. You can take notes of what is said.

B. You can ask another to take notes on your behalf.
This will allow you to listen and say what you want to, without having to worry about writing everything down.

C. You can record the review meeting so you can listen to it again later. You can use a tape recorder to do this. Make sure you label the cassette tape with the date and that it was a review meeting. On the inside cover, write the names of the people who were attending, and where they were from. See Section 11 Remembering Information and Messages, for more information.

D. If you have a video recorder you can video the review meeting.
Make sure you write down it was a review meeting, the date, who was there and where they were from on the video cassette cover. See Section 11 Remembering Information and Messages for more information.

Helpful hints

If you do either A or B you can use the Meeting Minutes Worksheet 17.
Make sure you fill it all out: i) who was there
ii) date
iii) when the next review meeting is
iv) what was said.

D. Self rating your performance.

Depending upon what your goals are, you might choose to use a checklist that you or someone you work with fills out, to keep a record of your progress.

The activities you do to look after yourself, around the house, in the community, for work or leisure can be broken down into a number of steps. This is called an activity analysis. How you go performing each step can be reviewed.

Activity analysis is usually done by an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist can identify how detailed the activity analysis needs to be for you. Once this has been worked out, you can be shown how to score what you do.

These scores are taken when you set a goal and just before your review dates. You can then compare the scoring and see where you have improved and what areas you need to continue working on.

If you follow these six steps you will continue changing and achieve your goals. Remember, people set goals throughout life. This process of getting your life together and keeping it together is ongoing. Persistence is the key.