On Monday, 24 September 2018, Royal Berkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will become the first Trust in Berkshire and Thames Valley to implement ReSPECT (Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment), is a process which allows people to have a say in the decision making process about the level of care that they would like to receive in an emergency, even if they are unable to make or express choices at that time.
The process involves a person and their health professional/s having a conversation about clinical aspects of the care and treatment a person would wish for if they became suddenly or seriously ill. This conversation would include thinking about treatments that would or would not help and/or those that the person would or would not want. The form that this conversation captures is kept by the person so that healthcare professionals have, in an emergency, the information they need to make quick decisions about care and treatment. However, if a person changes their wishes, the form can be updated to reflect this at any time.
The ReSPECT process can be for anyone, but it is likely to be especially relevant to people with 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.
Karen Swaffield, patient representative (pictured) said: “Having had a difficult experience with the loss of my dear husband, I so wish we had a conversation about wishes before we needed to. Once there was a diagnosis of a limited life it became too difficult to discuss dying issues, but I wish I had known what he wanted rather than try and think for him.
“The ReSPECT form captures a conversation with a health professional and helps you think about what you would like to happen if you became unwell and makes a person’s wishes known, so that all the services, hospital, GP, ambulance, social services, etc have that same important information.
“I am currently healthy but I recently completed the process. What this did was trigger a conversation with my sons about my wishes and it has actually been a relief to have spoken about things.”
Steve McManus, chief executive officer said: “ReSPECT is an approach to opening what can sometimes be difficult conversations with patients about their future personal preferences in the event of them needing emergency care and treatment.
“By completing the new ReSPECT form enables people while they are still in good health have the conversation at home with their family, and although it might be difficult, they can understand and contribute to the discussion.”