Thinking Ahead Programme

Thinking Ahead is a programme devised in 2018 by Harrogate Hospital, which we have adapted in our trust and run since 2019. The course covers lots of useful topics with many professionals leading sessions such as dieticians, palliative nurses, hospice staff, a chaplain, exercise professionals, an estates planner and more. 

We are currently running our Thinking Ahead programme online via Microsoft Teams, rather than in person. Sessions run for seven weeks and each session lasts for 90 minutes, with a short break in the middle.

Feedback from previous Thinking Ahead Courses has been excellent. Patients told us they have felt more in control of their situation, topics were delivered in a sensitive way and they learnt useful information. Couples also told us that the course had helped them talk to each other about the future for the first time, as they had previously avoided difficult conversations and not shared their wishes.

We ran our first collaborative Thinking Ahead course in partnership with Leeds and Harrogate Trusts, in March 2021, and we now run several collaborative courses each year.   

Here’s what some previous patients and family members have said about the Thinking Ahead Course:

“I feel so much calmer having done the Thinking Ahead Course and knowing that I am not alone in supporting my husband.”

“The course is really about caring for the whole person, rather than being lost as an NHS number.”

“All the topics have been useful – I didn’t know what I needed to know.”

“It’s so helpful to have the support from lots of knowledgeable staff and to have conversations with other people in a similar situation.”

If you would like to find out more about the programme or book a place to attend the Thinking Ahead Course, for yourself and a family member, please contact the Macmillan Information and Support Service on 01484 343614, 01422 222709 or

You will be asked to complete a consent form before joining the virtual course and you will also be given a privacy notice about keeping your information safe.

Please click here if you would like to read the privacy notice for the collaborative Thinking Ahead Course.

Places are limited, so we recommend you book early.

This film was made with patients and their family to highlight the benefits and value of being part of the Thinking Ahead course. We're so proud of all those who have taken part in the film, and it is really moving to hear them share their experiences.

Below are also three shorter films about the virtual Thinking Ahead Programme:

Carer/family support

Participant Benefits

Peer support

Thinking Ahead Course dates

We have different speakers who will be discussing important topics such as managing uncertainty, keeping physically active, advanced care planning, managing fatigue, diet and appetite, estates planning, mindfulness and much more.

There will be time to ask any questions and discuss the topics, in a confidential and informal setting. Family members are also welcome and encouraged to attend.  If you would like to know more about the Thinking Ahead course, please contact the Macmillan Information and Support Service 01484 343614, 01422 222709 or