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New app aims to improve care for people who are unable to express their own wishes

12 September 2017

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

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 personalised 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 programme, 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 (

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.”



Notes to editors

  • The ReSPECT app was developed by UCLPartners with Dr Gehan Soosaipillai, Clinical Research Fellow, Division of Surgery, Imperial College London and Tom Stables, developer. A live demo of the app will take place at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo on Tuesday 12 September at 11:30am-12:30pm in the Urgent and Emergency Care Zone.
  • The app can be downloaded on
  • The ReSPECT process was released in February 2017. More information can be found at
  • The ReSPECT evaluation pilot is being funded by Macmillan and the RCN Foundation, and delivered by UCLPartners.
  • Participating organisations include Whittington Health NHS Trust, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bridgeside Lodge (Forest Health) and Muriel Street (Care UK) nursing and residential care homes, and Highbury New Park (Care UK) nursing home. The project will also involve GPs, the London Ambulance Service, out-of-hours GPs, and NHS 111.

About UCLPartners
UCLPartners is a leading academic health science partnership that brings together people and organisations to transform the health and wellbeing of the population.  Working in partnership and at pace, its members from the NHS and higher education support the healthcare system serving over six million people in parts of London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex.

About the RCN Foundation

The RCN Foundation is an independent charity supporting nursing to improve the health and wellbeing of the public. It does this through providing financial support via the Lamplight Support Service with the RCN; education and training bursaries; and funding projects that support the development of clinical practice and the improvement of care. For advice, support or funding, please contact the RCN Foundation:

About Macmillan Cancer Support 

There are 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK. One in two people are likely to get cancer in their lifetimes.  Cancer can affect everything, including a person’s body, relationships and finances.   Macmillan Cancer Support provides practical, emotional and personal support to people affected by cancer every year. The charity is there to support people during treatment, help with work and money worries, and listen when people need to talk about their feelings.  Macmillan receives no government funding and relies on generous donations from the public. People up and down the country show their support for Macmillan – from hosting or attending a World’s Biggest Coffee Morning to running a marathon or giving up alcohol – so the charity can help more and more people affected by cancer every year. Life with cancer is still your life and Macmillan is there to help you live it.


For further information, please contact Sophie Jenkins, UCLPartners, on 020 3108 2332 or or Amanda White, UCLPartners, on 07841 538380.