The elements of a conceptual scheme for long-term care (LTC) were developed based on two lines of thought. The first, more practical, borrows from planning. The second, which is more theoretical, reflects sociological action theories. Planning is defined as an action that targets the development of a plan. Using values, desires, resources and constraints as a starting point, operational objectives are defined and means chosen. Planning focuses on four themes: (1) establishment of priorities, (2) setting up organizations in the form of agencies, (3) choosing objectives and (4) defining resources. These four themes are analyzed in turn, with each producing four elements defining a total of 16 themes, dilemmas, problems or issues specific to LTC. The relationships between these elements, which are by definition prescriptive, form the core of our proposal for an LTC planning model.