Meaningful conversations


Meaningful conversations with an individual, their families and / or legal proxy about their goals and preferences, are central to person-centred high quality future care planning.

Good outcomes depend on professionals using sensitive and effective communication behaviours and clear language within a robust overall conversation framework. Wherever possible they should take place face-to-face. However the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that it is also possible to use video (NHS Near Me) or phone. This is more likely to be acceptable if an established relationship exists between the person and the health or care professional.

The 6-step REDMAP framework offers a helpful model to guide health and care professionals having care planning conversations. REDMAP includes optional prompts for each step. These should be adapted to the individual and their situation.

Steps Prompts
1. Ready: Introduce future care planning and outline why it helps people get better care

These prompts may help you open a conversation with the person and those close to them:

  • Can we talk about what is happening with your health in case you (or people who support and help you at home) get less well in future?
  • It is helpful to think ahead and talk about what might happen so we know what is important for you.
  • Have you talked about planning ahead for your treatment and care before?
  • Do you have any kind of plan already? Is there someone who has power of attorney for you?
  • We can talk about what might happen for (person’s name) and what will be of most help to them.
2. Expect: Find out what the person knows, and thinks might happen

Once the conversation has started, we explore understanding and concerns:

  • Can I ask what you know about your health problems?
  • How have you been doing recently, and has anything changed?
  • Have you thought about what might happen if you get less well or seriously ill?
  • Do you want to tell/ask me anything important for you or your family?
3. Diagnosis: Share health information tailored to the person

It is important for people to have information about their health conditions or diagnoses so they can think about what is important to them before making plans for the future. Acknowledge and share uncertainty.

  • What we know is that…
  • We don’t know exactly what will happen or when, but we can plan for how to manage your treatment and care.
  • We are not sure about…
  • I hope you will stay well/improve with..., but I am worried about…
  • You may have thoughts, questions or worries we can talk about...
4. Matters: Talk about what is important to the person and their family

This step is essential and explores what is important to the person:

  • Can we talk about how you would like to be cared for?
  • What would you like to be able to do?
  • Is there anything you do not want to happen? Do you have any worries we can talk about?
  • What do you think (person's name) would say about this situation, if we could ask them? Why do you think they would say that?
5. Actions: Discuss realistic options for this person

These depend on the person’s goals and preferences, place of care and clinical outcomes for them.

  • What we can do is...
  • Options that can help you are…
  • This will not help because...
  • That does not work for someone when…
  • I wish we could do that, can we talk about what is possible?
  • Can we talk about what going to hospital might mean for you?
6. Plan: Agree a plan that is right for this person

Summarise the discussion, agree an future care plan, address current problems, and check for any questions or concerns.

  • We can plan ahead for if/when…
  • We can make a personal plan for you called an future care plan and share it securely with other professionals and teams so everyone knows what to do.
  • Any future care plans we make are reviewed if your health or situation change, and you can ask for a review at any time.

































Further resources

There are a range of materials that you can access.

  1. Downloadable version of the REDMAP framework.
  2. Video recording: Using REDMAP in care planning by Dr Kirsty Boyd. Produced by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, June 2023.
  3. NHS Education for Scotland's training materials support Realistic Medicine which puts the person at the centre of decisions made about their care and care planning.



  1. REDMAP framework for care planning conversations used with permission from Dr Kirsty Boyd, Reader in Palliative Care, The University of Edinburgh.
  2. REDMAP graphic developed by Openchange.