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What is ReSPECT?

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

Who is it for?

This plan 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 a sudden deterioration in their health, or of cardiac arrest. Some people will want to record their care and treatment preferences for other reasons.

How does it work?

The plan is created through conversations between you and your health professionals. The plan stays with you and should be available immediately to health professionals called to help you in an emergency, whether you are at home or being cared for elsewhere. Professionals such as ambulance crews, out-of-hours doctors, care home staff and hospital staff will be better able to make quick decisions about how best to help you if they can see your ReSPECT form in an emergency.

Who makes the decisions?

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 for your care and develop an agreed plan that records the 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 note that the ReSPECT form 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 take decisions or express an opinion, 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 and make choices. This plan enables you to guide those professionals on what treatments you would or would not want to be considered for, as well as 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.


How can patients find out more about ReSPECT?

Locally we plan to launch the process from July 2021. Implementation will be a gradual process throughout July and August 2021, with different health communities adopting and implementing ReSPECT using different time frames, according to local circumstances. If ReSPECT has already been adopted where you live, then you will be able to work with your health care professional to develop a form.

If ReSPECT has not been established where you live, but you would like to take steps now to ensure your wishes for treatment and care are known about, then you could make an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT). You can find out more information and fill out an ADRT online at

Supporting our staff to support you

We have a separate ReSPECT section for staff working in health and social care across our area, including training opportunities. You can find this here.