Red Bags’ packing a difference for care home residents in mid Essex

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Care home residents in mid Essex are set to benefit from a new Red Bag scheme which will help them receive quicker and more effective care should they need to go into hospital.

Red Bag

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is launching the initiative on 1 October in partnership with the local hospital and ambulance trust and mid Essex care homes. The initiative will help provide a fast and safe transfer of care for people when they move between a care home and hospitals or if transferred from the hospital to other NHS settings.

Mid Essex has a high number of people living in care homes. Due to the complex and long-term nature of the health issues many elderly care home residents experience, there are often frequent and sometimes sudden admissions to hospital.

Admissions and discharges involve input from several health and care organisations and all depends on good communication and having the right information available to healthcare professionals. Putting all the required information in one place will enable smooth communication across health and social care to make sure care home patients receive the best possible quality of care.

Red Bags clearly identify people admitted to hospital as someone who normally lives in a care home – and it goes with them in the ambulance and through A&E to their ward if they need to stay in hospital. Putting important information in the bag helps hospital teams to assess the new arrival and offer the appropriate treatment. The bag will also include personal items such as glasses, hearing aids, toiletries and day-of-discharge clothes so they are all transported to the hospital with the patient.

When the care home resident leaves hospital, their home also has details of their treatment to make sure they continue to get the right care – and all their property that went to hospital comes back with them.

Dr Anna Davey, Chair Designate of NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Most people are familiar with the idea of pregnant women having a bag packed and ready so they can just grab it when they head to hospital. But until now, there has been no organised way to help people living in local care homes if they are moved somewhere by ambulance.

“We have been working with our partners to launch the Red Bag scheme and hope it will give our care and nursing home residents the best chance of an easy and worry-free transfer to hospital. All care homes across mid Essex will receive their new red bags on1 October along with an information pack with information about relevant paper work.”