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The Red Bag: Improving life for care home residents by bringing NHS and care homes closer

User AvatarPosted by Kathryn Platten at 28/06/2016 10:46:05

Sutton Homes of Care has launched a brilliantly simple initiative to help people living in Sutton care homes receive quick and effective treatment should they need to go into hospital in an emergency. The "Red Bag" keeps important information about a care home resident's health in one place, easily accessible to ambulance and hospital staff.

The Red Bag contains standardised information about the resident's general health, any existing medical conditions they have, medication they are taking, as well as highlighting the current health concern.  This means that ambulance and hospital staff can determine the treatment a resident needs more effectively.

It also has room for personal belongings (such as clothes for day of discharge, glasses, hearing aid, dentures etc) and it stays with the patient whilst they are in hospital. When patients are ready to go home, a copy of their discharge summary (which details every aspect of the care they received in hospital) will be placed in the red bag so that care home staff have access to this important information when their residents' arrive back home.

The Red Bag also clearly identifies a patient as being a care home resident and this means that it may be possible for the patient to be discharged sooner, because the care home has been involved in discussions with the hospital and has an understanding of the residents care needs so they are able to support the resident when they are discharged.

Jason Morris, Clinical Team Leader, London Ambulance Service, St Helier area, said: "The great thing about the Red Bag is that, put simply, the service is just more patient focussed.

The result is older people are spending less time in hospital – eight days, which is four fewer than before the scheme was set up.
That is good for the individual and good for the health service.

Please visit www.suttonccg.nhs.uk and www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36533946 (external website) for further information

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