Community member helps keep everything together for patients

Following engagement with patients and care homes, the CCG developed the new red bag initiative after the need was identified for some way of keeping a patient's personal belongings and medical information together when they were in hospital. 

The red bag was the proposed solution for providing continuity with medication and personal items, to ensure that residents living in care and nursing homes receive safe, coordinated and efficient care should they need to go into hospital in an emergency.
Community member Albert Bennett (pictured right with a red bag) was involved in the creation of the Red Bag scheme with the CCG and throughout the development and implementation of the project.

In meetings he discussed and decided with CCG colleagues as to what information was required in the
bags and once the bags were produced, he took on the responsibility for checking them and setting up the identification and logging of each bag for specific care home locations, prior to distribution. 

He was also involved in consultation with many people about the red bag scheme and helped to promote the benefits of the scheme to those he spoke to. 

Albert Bennett, Accord and Community Forum member explained; 

"I thought that the red bag scheme was a good idea from when it was first suggested, as it was a simple way of having all the patient's essentials and personal information in one place, packed securely and travelling with them." 

"I have enjoyed being involved from the beginning of the project and planning what went into the Red Bag and I have had positive feedback from people I have spoken to about the scheme."

"Working with the CCG Service Lead as well as other NEL staff is like being back at school, it's a big learning curve, but I do enjoy doing it."

Under the new scheme for hospital transfer pathway, when a patient is taken into hospital in an emergency they will have a Red Bag to take with them and this bag will contain:

  • General health information, including any existing medical conditions
  • Medication information so ambulance and hospital staff know immediately what medication they are taking 
  • Personal belongings (clothes for day of discharge, glasses, hearing aid, dentures or other items). 

The standardised paperwork will ensure everyone involved in the care of the patient will have necessary information about their general health, including the current concern, social information and any health information. On discharge the care home will receive a discharge summary with the medications in the red bag.

Benefits of the red bag include:

  • The red bag aims to improve patients’ experience of being taken to and from hospital and provides more patient centred care
  • Improved efficiency in the admission and discharge process through having important information readily available in one place, saving time at each stage of the patient's care and allows staff to make more informed decisions about the person they are caring for
  • Communication by all staff involved in the resident’s care to and from hospital will be improved
  • The red bag 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. Including clearer coordination of medications and more inclusive discharge planning
  • Reduces loss of documentation
  • Reduces loss of personal belongings.