The innovative red bag scheme
is helping to provide a better care experience for care home residents
by improving communication between care homes and hospitals.
The red bag is the most visible part of successful collaboration
between care homes, hospitals and ambulance staff, known as the hospital
When a resident becomes unwell and is assessed as needing hospital
care, care home staff pack a dedicated red bag that includes the
resident’s standardised paperwork and their medication, as well as
day-of-discharge clothes and other personal items.
It’s a simple change which is proving to have benefits for both
patients and the NHS. It facilitates a smoother handover between care
home, ambulance and hospital staff with fewer phone calls and follow-ups
made by the hospital staff to care homes looking for health information
about the resident.
Length of stay can also be reduced – NHS Sutton clinical
commissioning group (CCG) found that residents with a red bag spent four
days less in hospital than those without a red bag, saving £167,000 a
year. It also stopped patients losing personal items such as dentures,
glasses and hearing aids worth £290,000 in a year.
Currently just over 40% of Health and Wellbeing Boards have reported
that they have implemented the red bag scheme in their area and a quick guide has been published to help increase this number.
The quick guide aims to support health and social care systems,
providing practical tips and case studies on how to roll the scheme out
successfully. To support this further, a series of webinars have been planned to provide training, advice and resources for CCGs, NHS trusts and care homes: