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New tool to help nurses develop emergency treatment plans with patients

The RCN has helped create a new tool to aid nurses and other health professionals in developing treatment plans with patients should they require emergency care.

The RCN has helped create a new tool to aid nurses and other health professionals in developing treatment plans with patients should they require emergency care in future.

The Recommended Summary Plans for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT) process aims to create recommendations for a persons clinical care in a future emergency where they are unable to make or express choices.

Through conversations between patients and nurses and other healthcare professionals, a ReSPECT plan is created which records care priorities and agreed clinical recommendations about the treatment.

It includes a recommendation on whether or not cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be attempted if a persons heart and breathing stop.

Healthcare professionals responding to an emergency involving the patient will then have a written summary to help make immediate decisions about

The RCN has helped create a new tool to aid nurses and other health professionals in developing treatment plans with patients should they require emergency care in future.


A new tool has been developed to help process treatment plans faster
Picture: iStock

The Recommended Summary Plans for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT) process aims to create recommendations for a person’s clinical care in a future emergency where they are unable to make or express choices.

Through conversations between patients and nurses and other healthcare professionals, a ReSPECT plan is created which records care priorities and agreed clinical recommendations about the treatment. 

It includes a recommendation on whether or not cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be attempted if a person’s heart and breathing stop.

Healthcare professionals responding to an emergency involving the patient will then have a written summary to help make immediate decisions about the person’s wishes and treatment. 

The ReSPECT process can be applied to anyone, but it is particularly relevant to people with complex health needs – who are likely to be nearing the end of their lives and who are at risk of sudden deterioration or cardiac arrest. 

It has been developed by organisations including the RCN, Resuscitation Council (UK), the National Council for Palliative Care and Marie Curie and has been introduced in a number of areas as part of a formal research evaluation taking place over three years.

'Greater support'

RCN professional lead for long term conditions and end of life care Amanda Cheesley, who has been involved in the project, said: ‘ReSPECT will support better discussions and encourage a truly person-centred approach to what can be an uncomfortable discussion.

‘Nurses often play a pivotal role in helping people to understand their options and this will help people to be fully involved in important decisions about their care and will ensure that staff are aware of them.’

Further information

ReSPECT project website


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