Sixteen care homes have joined a new initiative with Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, the East of England Ambulance Service and West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group.
The ‘Red Bag’ follows a care home resident on their journey to hospital should they become unwell and clearly identifies the patient as being a care home resident in hospital. The Red Bag includes standardized paperwork completed with all relevant clinical information about the resident’s general health, any existing medical conditions and medication they are taking. The paperwork is updated in the hospital and returned in the Red Bag with the resident when they return to their care home.
One of the homes involved is Lyncroft Care Home. Home manager Jan Davison said: “We jumped at the chance to be involved in this initiative. We aim to provide the highest standards of care for our residents and this simple but innovative project will improve communications and enable us to work more closely with our colleagues in the ambulance service and at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.”
As well as paperwork the bag also contains a resident’s personal belongings such as clothing, toiletries and personal aides. The Red Bag identifies the patient as a care home resident and stays with them at all times from when they leave the care home until they return from hospital.
“Going into hospital can be a stressful time for residents especially those living with dementia. Having their own belongings safely and securely with them at all times can give them comfort and reassurance,” said Jan.
The bags enable the correct care to be given immediately because the ambulance and hospital team have accurate and up to date clinical information. Having all the relevant paperwork and personal belonging together in one place can help to speed up discharge at the end of a hospital stay but most importantly helps to ensure that residents are treated with dignity and respect.