New app teaches health and care staff how to improve communication with patients

A new app that teaches health and care staff how to involve patients and those close to them in decisions about a future health emergency launches today via http://www.respectprocess.org.uk/learning.

The first of its kind, the educational app is built around the recently released ReSPECT process; a new way for clinicians, patients and their families to create personalized recommendations for a person’s clinical care in a potential future emergency in which they are unable to make or express choices.

The app allows health and care staff to complete short training modules via a simple, user-friendly interface. The modules use a mix of animation, tutorials and real-life examples to help staff improve their communication with patients and their families about difficult decisions for their future care.

The app is to be tested as part of a new pilot program, led by UCLPartners and working with colleagues from Whittington Health, to evaluate the ReSPECT process in three care homes in Islington, north London. The pilot will test the implementation of ReSPECT and how it affects the care that residents receive, both in their care home and in a subsequent care setting, e.g. a hospital.

The pilot will run for 12 months from September 2017, in partnership with Macmillan and the RCN Foundation. The learning will inform the wider roll out across London and nationally.

The ReSPECT process, which stands for Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment, has been developed by a national working group co-hosted by the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the Royal College of Nursing. The group was initiated in 2015 in the light of a growing evidence and consensus for the need for a national process that is valid in all settings and for people of all ages (www.respectprocess.org.uk).

Dr Caroline Stirling, End of Life Care Lead at UCLPartners, said:

This work is a really important step forward in ensuring people are involved in decisions about their future care. Our colleagues across health and care have helped develop the app and through their input, we’ve created a unique tool that we hope will improve the lives of people we care for. We are so grateful to the RCN Foundation and Macmillan for supporting us in these exciting projects. The learning from our pilot will be invaluable to the wider UK-wide implementation of ReSPECT.

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