Care and residential home residents across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are going to get better, more joined-up care if they have to go to hospital thanks to a Red Bag.
The new NHS initiative will help with the transfer of patients between care homes in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.
The red bag scheme is a simple but effective way of improving communication between home and hospital – and it is also makes life easier for the patient.
The bags, which have been funded by University Hospital of North Midlands (UHNM) Charity, will be used to ensure that personal belongings, medication and documentation are kept together and are transferred smoothly from care home to hospital – and back.
The bag stays with the patient from the moment they leave the home until they return once they have been discharged from hospital. It contains standardised information about the resident and a section for personal belongings such as glasses and hearing aids.
The idea was first brought in at Sutton in Surrey where it was found that residents with a red bag spent four days less in hospital than those without a red bag. The scheme cut down on unnecessary delays by keeping all the important things in one place.
The project involves UHNM, Staffordshire care homes, Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups and West Midlands Ambulance Service and it is currently being rolled out across the area.
The advantages of the red bag scheme are:
• All patient information is transferred safely and is available to those who need it
• Personal belongings are less likely to get lost
• Hospital staff can see immediately that the patient is from a care home
• Improved communication between the care home and hospital staff
• Residents are discharged back to their care home with updated information and medicines
Louise Calvert, Clinical Lead of Red Bag Scheme, said: “I am delighted that we are launching the red bag scheme in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Similar projects have proved a great success in other parts of the country with many benefits for patients and staff and I am sure it will be the same here.
“This initiative should make sure the nursing team has everything it needs when a patient arrives in hospital and also help speed up the discharge process when a patient is ready to be leave hospital. It should make the whole process run more smoothly. We are very grateful for the generosity of UHNM Charity in making it possible for us to go ahead with the red bags scheme.”
Cheryl Hardisty, Director of Commissioning and Operations at North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs, said: “This is a really important initiative to ensure that patients feel more relaxed and settled with some of their treasured possessions around them in an unfamiliar environment. It can also help prevent delays as patients have all of their essential items with them in one place.”
Naomi Duggan, Director of Communications and UHNM Charity, said: “The Charity is delighted to have been able to support the red bags project that will help to improve the experiences of elderly patients at the hospital. This is a fantastic example of the ‘added extras’ that UHNM Charity raises money to provide, supporting the work that all of the incredible staff carry out at the hospital.”