A SERVICE has been launched in Worcestershire to help people decide on the treatment they want if they find themselves in emergency care and unable to communicate their wishes.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust have united for ReSPECT (Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment), which sees people create a personalised plan for their care in a future emergency in which they are unable to make or express choices. The process will provide professionals responding to an emergency with a summary of recommendations to help them to make immediate decisions about that person’s care and treatment.

ReSPECT can be for anyone at any time, but will have increasing relevance for people who have complex health needs, are at risk of sudden deterioration or cardiac arrest, and those who are likely to be nearing the end of their lives.

Joanne Hodgetts, ReSPECT project lead for Worcestershire, said: "The best part of my job is the huge potential for positive impact on patients and families experiences in the event of an emergency when this project is complete and ReSPECT is successfully implemented in Worcestershire.

"The conversational process itself will empower people and their loved ones to think about and discuss what is important to them in terms of their future health and care needs, and this information will be readily available for use in the event of an emergency when that person may be unable to express these wishes."

ReSPECT has been funded entirely by legacy donations left to Macmillan by three Worcestershire residents. The charity has invested over £285,000 in the programme.

Tudor Humphreys, Macmillan partnership manager, added: "People with a ReSPECT plan in place are more likely to avoid unwanted and unnecessary interven­tions including hospital admissions, and allow people to be cared for with dignity and die in the place of their choosing."

To find out more about the ReSPECT, email Jo Hodgetts on joanne.hodgetts@nhs.net or visit respectprocess.org.uk/patientsandcarers