Coping Planning


Coping plans are designed to overcome barriers that might get in the way of carrying out an action plan.

Anticipating barriers may be easier when the person has had some experience of trying to complete the action plan

The staff member can support the person to think about barriers – “Can you think of anything that could get in the way of you completing your plan?”

A good coping plan will …

  • Be described in the patient’s own words
  • Relate to specific action plans (rather than to the goal itself)
  • Take account of the patient’s social and/ or environmental context
  • Increase patient’s confidence in their ability to successfully complete the action plan


The staff member asks the person if they can think of any barriers that might get in the way of successfully completing the action plan. Staff can prompt the person to consider barriers they have thought of.

If a barrier is identified, a coping plan is agreed which will either remove it or reduce its impact; thus support the person to successfully follow through with the plan.


By considering barriers ahead of time, coping plans optimise the person’s chances of successfully completing the action plan.

Outcome of this stage

The staff member and person will agree a coping plan to be activated to reduce the impact of a perceived barrier

If no barriers can be anticipated, then no coping plan is required.

“If I get tired walking to the end of the street, then I’ll sit on the bench half way along the road.”

Identified barrier: fatigue

Identified barrier: fear of losing balance

“I will get my wife to stand beside me when I do my balance exercises to give me more confidence”

“I will write a list and take it to the shop with me so I don’t forget anything”

Identified barrier: memory

Documentation in G-AP record

Following on from the previous example, the person was worried she would get mixed up when on the phone to the GP. She and the staff member agreed she would write a bullet point list of the key things she wanted to say on a ‘post it’ note and refer to it when she was on the phone – she gauges her confidence as 8/10 using the visual analogue scale.