Person-centred provision of long-term care (LTC) requires information on how individuals value respective LTC services. The literature on LTC preferences has not been comprehensively reviewed, existing summaries are contradictory. An explorative, scoping review was conducted to provide a thorough methodological description and results synthesis of studies that empirically investigated LTC preference outcomes based on respondents’ statements. A wide search strategy, with 18 key terms relating to ‘LTC’ and 31 to ‘preferences’, was developed. Database searches in PubMed, Ovid and ScienceDirect were conducted in February 2016. The 59 studies meeting the inclusion criteria were grouped and methodically described based on preference elicitation techniques and methods. Despite substantial methodological heterogeneity between studies, certain findings consistently emerged for the investigated LTC preference outcomes. The large majority of respondents preferred to receive LTC in their known physical and social environment when care needs were moderate, but residential care when care needs were extensive. Preferences were found to depend on a variety of personal, environmental, social and cultural aspects. Dependent individuals aspired to preserve their personal and social identity, self-image, independence, autonomy, control and dignity, which suggests that LTC preferences are a function of the perceived ability of a specific LTC arrangement to satisfy peoples’ basic physiological and mental/social needs. Research on LTC preferences would greatly profit from a standardisation of respective concepts and methods.