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May 7, 2020

Demi’s Palliative Care Blog: What is ReSPECT?

What is ReSPECT?

By Demi Brooks

In my blog last week, I discussed DNACPR (Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) decisions and forms.

In this week’s blog, I want to discuss ReSPECT, a new document which launched in Norfolk and Waveney in March of this year.

ReSPECT, which stands for Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment, and is a document that records and summarises which treatments you or your loved one would or would not want in an emergency, should you become too unwell to communicate this information.

Currently ReSPECT is being rolled out across the county, but in the future, when you go into hospital or have an appointment with your doctor, healthcare professionals will have a discussion with you regarding ReSPECT. Eventually, it will replace any DNACPR forms your or your loved ones have in place. However, during the interim period while ReSPECT is still launching across the county, your DNACPR form is still valid.

How does ReSPECT work?

A ReSPECT plan is created thorough conversations between yourself and health professionals who are involved in your care.

As mentioned before in my previous blogs, ReSPECT is another document which helps to highlight the importance of having early conversations with your loved ones about yours and their future care.

It is important that these conversations take place when you and your loved one are well and are able to communicate what care and treatment you would or would not want to receive in an emergency situation, should you become to unwell or unable to communicate your wishes.

ReSPECT doesn’t just focus on what you don’t want to happen, it also makes recommendations based on the conversations you and a healthcare professional involved in your care have had around what treatments you would like or would not like to happen in the future.

It is similar to a DNACPR form as it still includes instructions about CPR, but also includes recommendations about whether CPR should be attempted or not attempted, and makes this information as clear and accessible to healthcare professionals.

It is important to note that ReSPECT documents are not legally binding; they contains recommendations to guide immediate decision making by health or healthcare professionals who respond to you or your loved ones in an emergency.

A RePECT form should be signed by a healthcare professional, it does not have an expiry date or a fixed review.  If a ReSPECT form has been reviewed or replaced it should be clearly crossed through and marked as cancelled.

Where can ReSPECT be used?

This document can be transferred across various healthcare-related settings, for example from a nursing home to a hospital.

ReSPECT is your document about your care.

Similar to maternity notes for a mother during her pregnancy, it should go with you to all medical appointments, be kept in a prominent place within your home, and loved ones and family members should also be made aware that you have one and where it is kept.

This makes it easier in an emergency situation for those providing care to you or your loved ones to be able to easily access it and follow your wishes.

In summary, you should:

  • Keep your ReSPECT document somewhere easy to find, take it with you wherever you go, let family, friend and carers know you have one and where it is kept
  • Take it with you to all medical treatments
  • Review your plan with healthcare professionals involved in your care, especially if your health condition or circumstances change.

You can get more information about ReSPECT at, or by asking your GP or hospital doctor involved in yours or your loved ones care.

Remember to have important conversations whilst you are well enough, and ensure you and your loved one have an advance care plan, DNACPR or ReSPECT form in place to ensure your wishes are seen and followed if you can’t communicate.

Stay Safe.

Demi Brooks is the Palliative Care Education Co-ordinator for Big C.

Information taken from Resuscitation UK Council April 2020.

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