Future Care Planning


Providing people with person-centred, coordinated care, focusing on goals and preferences, whilst offering opportunities to consider realistic treatment and care options.

These future care planning webpages pull together guidance and resources on all aspects of future care planning to support health and social care professionals throughout the care planning process.

Until September 2023 future care planning was referred to as anticipatory care planning (ACP). Some website resources produced before this date retain the language of ACP but remain useful and relevant for those working on future care planning.


What is future care planning?

Future care planning involves conversations between individuals, their families and/or carers, and professionals. It helps people communicate their goals and preferences, and gives them opportunities to consider realistic options, and plan for future changes in their health and care. These conversations and any decisions made can be recorded, shared and reviewed.

Future care planning is person-centred, proactive and helps people consider what is important to them and plan for their future care. Planning ahead can help people feel more in control and able to manage any changes in their health and wellbeing.

Health and social care professionals should offer people opportunities to take part in care planning and receive information about its benefits. Understandably, people may have worries and concerns that need explored. Sometimes people will not wish to engage in these discussions or may prefer to delay them until another time when they are ready. Thinking ahead about ‘what matters to me’ is relevant at any age or stage of life. Undertaking future care planning is particularly beneficial for those:

  • living with one or multiple long term health conditions
  • living with disabilities and/or complex health and care needs
  • whose health and wellbeing is changing or deteriorating due to physical and/or mental health problems
  • approaching the end of their life, and
  • children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

Conversations between individuals, those people who are important to them (for example a relative, close friend or carer, or a legal proxy), and their health or social care professionals are central to future care planning. These conversations inform shared decisions about future care and can include:

  • reflections on a person’s situation, goals, priorities and preferences in relation to their health and care
  • involving the right people and supporting them to be part of discussions and decisions about future treatment and care, and
  • discussing and agreeing realistic treatment or care options in line with what matters to the person.

Discussions and decisions are recorded in a future care plan and shared with the people that need to know about it. Care plans must be reviewed regularly including if the person’s health condition or social situation changes, or as they wish to do so.


Benefits of future care planning

Future care planning has benefits for individuals, families and professionals:

  • allowing a person to feel valued by listening to what matters to them in the context of their current and future health and care
  • supporting patient autonomy and quality of life through shared decision-making
  • involving and supporting family members, carers, and legal proxy decision-makers
  • delivering realistic healthcare with timely investigations and treatments and fewer interventions of low benefit, including unwarranted hospital admissions
  • effective care coordination to reduce repeated conversations with different professionals and teams
  • helping to recognise and reduce health inequalities
  • improving quality of care towards the end of life, and
  • enabling more people to be cared for and to die in the right place for them.


How to use these webpages

These webpages are split into three main sections:

Section 1

A toolkit bringing together all the resources relating to future care planning. The intention is that this will be develop over time. The toolkit has been split into four key steps:

Visual showing the four steps to ACP: preparation and planning, meaningful conversations, documentation and sharing, regular review

  1. Preparation and planning
  2. Meaningful conversations
  3. Documentation and sharing
  4. Regular review


Section 2

Information on future care planning in different contexts. This includes resources for using future care planning to support people living in care homes and people with neurological conditions

Section 3

A summary of all the links and downloads across all these pages.


Find out more

Tools and resources

Find out more about the four steps to future care planning and tools and resources that will support you in planning, undertaking and reviewing future care planning.

Future care planning in different contexts

Future care planning can be used to support individuals across health and social care. These pages explore how future care planning is improving care in a wide range of context and capture key learning for different settings.

Get in touch

If you have tools or resources that have supported you in preparing for and undertaking future care planning, or you want to provide feedback, please get in touch by emailing us at