This article presents a conceptual model of the care planning process developed to identify the hypothetical links between structural, process and outcome factors important to the quality of the process. Based on existing literature, it was hypothesized that a thorough assessment of patients' health needs is an important prerequisite when making a rigorous diagnosis and preparing plans for various care interventions. Other important variables that are assumed to influence the quality of the process are the care culture and professional knowledge. The conceptual model was developed as a system dynamics causal loop diagram as a first essential step towards a computed model. System dynamics offers the potential to describe processes in a nonlinear, dynamic way and is suitable for exploring, comprehending, learning and communicating complex ideas about care processes.