A new process is being introduced to give Lincolnshire residents more say about what happens to them if they need emergency care or treatment.
The ReSPECT form will encourage healthcare staff and patients to have difficult conversations about emergency treatment earlier when it is rolled out next month.
ReSPECT – which stands for Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment – consists of a form which is filled in following conversations between patients and their healthcare staff to determine a personalised plan for potential future emergency care and treatment.
It is designed to allow patients greater influence on what happens to them in their own individual situation and that their wishes are carried out appropriately.
The nationally recognised process will be adopted by all Lincolnshire health and care organisations.
Adam Brown, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Barnabas and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “In a crisis, healthcare staff may have to make rapid decisions about care and treatment when a patient may not be well enough to participate in making choices themselves.
“The ReSPECT process empowers patients to guide healthcare staff on what treatments they would or would not want to be considered for.
“It can also record the things that are most important to the patient and that should be prioritised, as well as treatments that would not work for them.
“Many life-sustaining treatments involve risks of causing harm, discomfort and loss of dignity, or the risk of dying in hospital when a patient may have wanted to be at home.
“Many people choose not to take those risks if the likelihood of benefit from treatment is small.
“ReSPECT can record preferences and recommendations for emergency situations, whatever stage of life the patient is at.
“It is important the doctors and nurses know how the patient wants to be treated - so that they can respect their wishes.”
Rebecca Taylor, Lead Nurse for Quality at NHS Lincolnshire West CCG said ReSPECT would help initiate difficult conversations.
She said: “ReSPECT is about awareness.
“This new initiative will provide more clear guidance from patients than the previous Do Not Attempt CPR orders and is focusing on patient choices and involvement.
“ReSPECT allows people to have these conversations earlier on, and to cover a wider range of treatment than just CPR.
“We want these conversations to be had between families, patients and healthcare professionals about how individuals want to be treated and what they want their treatment plan to look like.”
ReSPECT will launch across Lincolnshire on Monday, February 4, 2019.
Anyone who would like to know more about ReSPECT can visit www.respectprocess.org.uk or contact a member of their healthcare team.