Flemish Patient Platform
Health & Wellbeing
Liesbeth Jenné
Philippe Vandenbroeck

Helping people with a chronic illness to articulate their life goals


Our understanding of health is evolving. We are moving towards a view that pays more attention to the patient's resilience and quality of life than to a mere maximisation of the number life years. In a goal-oriented care model, persons with a chronic condition are invited to develop their highest potential based on their own life goals. There were, however, no instruments available to map out patient's life goals.

The challenge of this project was to develop an instrument that helps patients to define their life goals. Therefore the tool has to support a process of reflection and articulation. This process can be carried out by patients individually, in collaboration with members of their immediate social circle of with formal and informal care providers.


A literature study on life goals and basic needs led to the development of a conceptual framework for the instrument. This was the starting point for an iterative design process in which we came up with an instrument that helps patients with a chronic illness to define life goals and discuss them with their care providers. Different prototypes of the instrument were made. Every prototype was tested, validated and refined in cooperation with the users, which eventually resulted in the 'Doelzoeker' ('Goal Seeker').


The 'Goal Seeker' helps patients with chronicle conditions to gain more insight in what matters to them now and in the future. It's a tool that can change the quality of the communication between patients and healthcare providers, focusing on the persons life goals and helping to organise their care and support accordingly. The tool involves patients in the choices about their treatment and ensures that the treatment is adapted to how a person feels about life. By not only starting from a medical point of view, one really puts the patient and his goals at the centre.

"By putting a patient's goal rather than clinical reasoning center stage we are really writing history." - Susanne Op de Beeck, VPP

Photo: © Seppe Kuppens