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October 26, 2018

ReSPECT – Make your wishes known about your care and treatment in an emergency

The ReSPECT process creates personalised recommendations for your clinical care in emergency situations in which you are not able to decide for yourself or communicate your wishes.

It will be launched in Leeds in December, and there’s already an app with information about the process. The app is mostly aimed at people working in health and social care but anyone can use it.

It includes videos and podcasts, downloadable sample forms, everything you need to understand and help others to understand and use ReSPECT.

You can learn about what the ReSPECT process is, who ReSPECT is for, having a conversation about ReSPECT, practicalities of the ReSPECT form, and how to care for someone with a ReSPECT form.

In addition all the info about the ReSPECT process is at

How does it work

The plan is created through conversation between health professionals and you. You keep the plan with you and try to make sure it will be available immediately in an emergency to health professionals, such as ambulance crews, out of hours doctors, or hospital staff if you are admitted.

Why is it available

More people are thinking about about what might happen if they were to become critically ill. By planning ahead and doing the thinking while there’s no crisis to deal with you have time to think clearly, take advice, and share your thoughts and wishes with the people who might have to care for you.

Many life-sustaining treatments involve risks of causing harm, discomfort and loss of dignity, or the risk of dying in hospital when you may have wanted to be at home. Many people choose not to take those risks if the likelihood of benefit from treatment is small. This plan is to record preferences and recommendations for emergency situations, whatever stage of life you are at.

The ReSPECT process provides this opportunity in a clear, straightforward way. It will hopefully make it much easier for everyone, both inside and outside the healthcare professions, to make these challenging decisions together.

What does it cover

The plan guides clinicians who have to make rapid decisions for you in an emergency, so that they can choose the right balance between focusing treatment mainly on prolonging life and focusing mainly on providing comfort.

ReSPECT can support other steps you can take to try to ensure that your wishes for your future care and treatment are known about and respected. For example you may give legal authority (Powers of Attorney) to someone who you would want to make decisions on your behalf, or you can try to make sure that people close to you know your preferences so that they can help professionals to make the best decisions for you in an emergency. In England and Wales you can make a legally binding Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) but clearly documenting your wishes about future care is helpful wherever you live in the UK.