Innovative ‘Red Bags’ help care home residents admitted to hospital be discharged quicker

A new ‘Red Bag’ scheme has launched in Bury to ensure care home residents receive quick, personalised and effective treatment should they be admitted to hospital in an emergency.
The scheme, which launches this month, will see care homes for the elderly in Bury provide their residents with a Red Bag. The Red Bag contains a patient passport holding important information about the individual’s health, medication and personal decisions. It also has space to store personal belongings such as glasses, slippers, hearing aids and dentures – items which are often easily lost during an emergency admission – along with room for clothes to come home in after their hospital stay.
When someone is admitted to hospital in an emergency, the Red Bag, which is already packed and ready to go, is handed to the ambulance crew and travels with the patient to hospital where it is then then handed to hospital staff. By having important information in one place, health staff are able to make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary delays.
It’s a simple idea that is centred around the individual. It also helps to improve communication between care homes, the ambulance service and hospital staff, ensuring their assessment, treatment and discharge is timely, which improves their overall experience and ensures they get to go home as soon as possible.
When the patient is ready to go home, the patient passport is updated with relevant information reducing the chance of a readmission to hospital.
NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working in collaboration with Bury Council, Fairfield General Hospital (part of Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) and the North West Ambulance Service to launch the Red Bag Scheme in Bury.
A launch to mark the roll out of the Red Bags was attended by all partner organisations and the implementation team. Stuart North Chief Officer (now retired) of Bury CCG and MP for Bury North James Frith came along to hear all about the new innovative scheme and offer their support.
Catherine Jackson, Executive Nurse for NHS Bury CCG said:
“As we have seen in other parts of the country, this simple and innovative scheme will make a genuine difference to elderly care home residents in Bury. This is a really good example of how the NHS is integrating care by working in partnership with social care to create a smooth pathway for patients, who only have to tell their story once and get the best possible care every time.”
“Care home residents are often vulnerable and have complex medical needs. As well as giving reassurance to individuals, their carers and care home staff, the Red Bags provides ambulance and hospital staff with quick, up to date information and medication requirements for the patient, avoiding unnecessary delays and speeding up a stay in hospital for all the right reasons.”