Future Care Planning and Neurological Conditions


Neurological conditions are complex aspects of people’s health. Our webinar explores best practice from across the health and care sectors in how to use care planning to support neurological care.


What are Neurological Conditions?

Neurological conditions cover a broad spectrum of disorders, conditions and syndromes affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. Conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease all fall under the term neurological conditions; and all have different outcomes, disease trajectories and approaches to clinical management.

Neurological conditions may appear as an abrupt ‘one off’ occurrence with life-changing consequences, or they may evolve over many years. Some are more readily identifiable and defined, whilst others, mask enormous variation in how symptoms affect people’s lives.

For some a diagnosis of a neurological condition can affect a person’s ability to live independently, work, drive, achieve personal ambitions, or sustain their personal identity or life roles. For others, their condition may affect their ability to communicate, walk, think, swallow or breathe and may result in premature death.

In 2019, the Scottish Government published a national action plan to drive improvements in care and support people with neurological conditions: Neurological Care and Support in Scotland: A Framework for Action 2020 – 2025. This includes a commitment to promoting the use of future care planning in neurological care. 


Why does future care planning matter for those with neurological conditions?

Future care planning is key to supporting people living with their diagnosis by helping them understand and anticipate future changes to their condition and make plans. Given the range of neurological conditions and their different outcomes and trajectories, the focus of the future care plan will vary from person to person. For many people with a neurological condition the focus of the care plan is on living with the condition rather than end of life care. In all cases it is important to understand what matters to the individual and to take a person-centred approach.

In the development of the Scottish Government Action Plan Neurological Care and Support in Scotland: A Framework for Action 2020 – 2025, feedback from people with neurological conditions highlighted the need to share information between members of care teams and to embed future care planning in the provision of care. You can learn more about the benefits of care planning for carers and individuals, and how to best be involved in these conversations, with this Planning Ahead resource from the Neurological Alliance of Scotland.


ACP and neurological conditions webinar

We held a webinar on 25 August 2021 to explore how the principles of good future care planning can be adapted for different neurological conditions, including for purposes much broader than end of life care. The webinar was aimed at any health and social care professionals involved in the care of people with neurological conditions, including specialist nurses and Allied Health Professionals. It was jointly organised by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the Scottish Government Clinical Priorities Team.

A recording of the webinar can be accessed below: 


  1. Introduction (2:08 – 10:37) 
    Led by Judith Newton, Lead MND Nurse Consultant, Scottish Government 
  2. How Anticipatory Care Planning has made a difference for people with MS and MND in Orkney (10:38 – 24:05) 
    Led by Moira Flett, MS and MND Advisor, NHS Orkney 
  3. AHP’s role in neurological conditions (24:06 – 40:10) 
    Led by Rosalind Gray, Head of Therapies, Nightingale Hammerson 
  4. ihub ACP programme update (40:11 – 51:12) 
    Led by Adeline Tan, Improvement Advisor, Healthcare Improvement Scotland 
  5. Question and Answer Session (51:13 – 57:42) 
    Led by Judith Newton, Lead MND Nurse Consultant, Scottish Government 

Download slides (PDF) 
Summary of ACP and Neurological Conditions Webinar Q&A