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Evaluating ReSPECT in Primary Care Study

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This study closed on 31st July 2023. The final study report has been submitted for publication

Key information

Title: Evaluating the integration of the Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT) into primary care and its impact on patient treatment and care

Chief Investigator: Prof Anne-Marie Slowther 

Sponsor: University of Warwick

Funder: National Institute for Health Research - Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (NIHR HS&DR)

Registration Number: NIHR131316


When a person becomes seriously ill, health professionals treating them need to make decisions quickly. They may have limited information about the person’s medical history or about their wishes about treatment. The sick person may not be able to tell them what matters to them. To help health care professionals decide what is the best treatment for that person, Emergency Care Treatment Plans can be used. One type of plan, called ReSPECT,Link opens in a new window is used in many NHS hospitals in the UK. However, it might be better to write these plans when the person is living at home rather than after they have been admitted to hospital. ReSPECT forms are now being used by GPs and other primary care staff in the UK.

The aim of this study is to evaluate the ReSPECT process for adults in primary care to understand how, when and why these plans are used and how they affect patient care. To do this we will use a mixed methods approach. We will explore how ReSPECT works in practice by talking to patients who have a ReSPECT form, to their families, GPs and staff working in care homes, about their experience of ReSPECT and their views on how it does or doesn’t work well. We will look at the clinical records of patients with a ReSPECT form to investigate how the recommendations on the form influence future patient treatment. We will also investigate how health care professionals and the public more widely view emergency care treatment plans through focus groups and surveys.

This evaluation is important in finding out how well the ReSPECT process works in primary care, what might help to improve it and to understand its impact on patient care. If you are interested in finding out more about how the ReSPECT process was developed please click here: opens in a new window

Aims and objectives

This study is a mixed-methods evaluation of the ReSPECT process for adults in primary care to determine how, when, and why it is used, and what effect it has on patient treatment and care.

  1. To understand how ReSPECT is currently used in primary care from the perspective of patients, their families, clinicians, and care providers
  2. To describe the views of patients, the public, primary and community health care professionals, and home care workers on emergency care treatment plans in general and ReSPECT in particular
  3. To identify enablers and obstacles to embedding ReSPECT in primary care practice
  4. To explore the impact of ReSPECT on patient treatment decisions
  5. To understand how health and social care professionals can best engage people with Learning Disability in the ReSPECT process and coproduce relevant support materials
  6. To develop a consensus on how ReSPECT should be used in primary care


Recruitment for this study is now closed