Red Bag scheme launches in Warwickshire!

The national NHS Red Bag scheme will be launched in Warwickshire in the week commencing 18 March with an initial cohort of 32 Older People care homes across the county.

The scheme aims to help facilitate a quick, safe and well organised handover of care when a care home resident is admitted to hospital.

A dedicated Red Bag is packed that contains everything needed during their hospital stay including information about their health condition.

The key aims of the project are to improve communication and relationships between care homes and hospital staff, and to help facilitate an overall smoother admission and discharge process.

The project has already been implemented in other parts of the country, receiving positive feedback from key partners as well as indicating an influence on reduced length of hospital stay.

The Warwickshire version of the Red Bag builds on the best practice seen elsewhere and has been developed alongside key partners (including Hospital Trusts, CCGs, West Midlands Ambulance Service, and care home providers).

How the Red Bag works

When a resident becomes unwell and is assessed as requiring hospital admittance, care home staff pack a Red Bag for them which includes everything they need to make their stay as effective as possible. This includes:

  • Information regarding their care needs and medical history
  • Any other relevant documents (e.g. This Is Me, MAR sheet, DNAR etc)
  • Change of clothes
  • Personal belongings (e.g. toiletries, book)
  • Any aids required (e.g. hearing aid, glasses)

The bag is passed over to ambulance staff when picking up the resident. It then stays with the resident throughout their hospital stay and allows them to keep their belongings together, as well as giving hospital staff one eye catching place where they can find up to date information around their care needs and medical condition.

Upon discharge, hospital staff also include a copy of the discharge summary and information about how the resident’s needs may have changed.

Benefits of the Red Bag

  • Improved communication and information sharing between professionals
  • More efficient ambulance pickup
  • Health staff can more easily determine the best course of treatment and provide person centred care
  • Fewer phone calls between hospital and care home determining needs of resident
  • More effectively planned discharge
  • Fewer lost belongings
  • Better experience for the resident who feels more in control and has reduced impact from the deconditioning related to longer hospital stays

What happens next?

Bags are provided free of charge to providers, with sufficient bags allocated according to the size of the home and resident needs.

The project will continue to be rolled out to the wider Older People care home market, therefore other providers will be hearing more very soon. Those care homes currently participating are identified by clearly displayed Red Bag posters and stickers on site.

You can find out more about the project including an FAQ and downloadable versions of relevant resources here.

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