ReSPECT - Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment

What is ReSPECT?

ReSPECT stands for Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment. The ReSPECT process creates personalised recommendations for your clinical care in emergency situations when you are not able to make decisions or express your wishes.

Who is it for?

This plan can be for anyone but will have more relevance for people who have health needs, people who are at risk of a sudden health crisis and people who are likely to be nearing the end of their lives. Some people will want to record their care and treatment preferences for other reasons.

How does it work?

The plan is written on a ReSPECT form following a conversation between you and a Health Care Professional (for example this could be your GP, Hospital Consultant or Nurse).

The plan stays with you wherever you go and should be available immediately to the Ambulance Service, Doctors or Nurses called to help you in an emergency, whether you are at home or out and about. Those called to help you will be able to make decisions about how best to help you from your personal priorities and recommendations recorded on your ReSPECT form.

What kinds of things are discussed?

In order to understand what is important to you, your doctor/nurse will discuss your personal priorities, possible future situations relating to your health and the options that may be available to you in an emergency. Together you will use these conversations to develop an agreed plan that records what types of care or treatment:

  • you would want to be considered for in an emergency
  • you would not want to receive
  • would not work or be of overall benefit to you

It is important to understand that the ReSPECT form cannot be used to demand treatments that are unlikely to benefit you and would therefore not be recommended. The ReSPECT recommendations are there to help people looking after you in an emergency to make quick decisions in line with your wishes, they are not legally binding.