What is the ReSPECT process?

The ReSPECT process creates personalised recommendations for a person’s clinical care and treatment in a future emergency in which they are unable to make or express choices.

These recommendations are created through conversations between a person, their families, and their health and care professionals to understand what matters to them and what is realistic in terms of their care and treatment.

ReSPECT was adopted in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield as a collaborative between all health and care providers in 2023. ReSPECT was adopted in Leeds in 2018 and Bradford and Airedale in 2020.

How does ReSPECT work?

ReSPECT and decision-making conversations happen between a person, their families, and their health and care professionals. These conversations help create an understanding of what is important to the person.

Patient preferences and clinical recommendations are discussed and recorded on a non-legally binding form which can be reviewed and adapted if circumstances change.

Who is ReSPECT for?

The ReSPECT process can be for anyone but will have increasing relevance for people who have complex health needs, people who are likely to be nearing the end of their lives, and people who are at risk of sudden deterioration or cardiac arrest. Some people will want to record their care and treatment preferences for other reasons.

The ReSPECT process is increasingly being adopted within health and care communities around the UK.

Who makes the recommendations about the types of care or treatment you would or would not wish to have?

The ReSPECT process is designed to support conversations between you and your health professionals (and other people important to you) in order to understand your priorities of care and use those to develop an agreed plan that records what types of care or treatment.

It is important to understand that the ReSPECT plan cannot be used to demand treatments that are not likely to benefit you and would not be offered.

In an emergency where you are not able to say what is important to you, clinical decisions will be made by health professionals trying to act in your best interests and for your benefit.

Why is this available?

In an emergency, health or care professionals may have to make rapid decisions about your treatment, and you may not be well enough to discuss what is important to you. This plan empowers you to guide them on what treatments you would or would not want to be considered for, and to have recorded those treatments that could be important or those that would not work for you. Many treatments that can be life-sustaining for some people carry a risk of causing harm, discomfort or loss of dignity. Many people choose not to accept that risk if the likelihood of benefit from treatment is small. This plan is to record your preferences and agreed realistic recommendations for emergency situations, whatever stage of life you are at.

For more information about ReSPECT please see the Resuscitation Council’s website: https://www.resus.org.uk/respect