Red bag scheme will ease pathway from care home to hospital

The Red Bag Pathway, a pilot scheme to improve the care of vulnerable people, has been launched across the Bradford and Craven districts.

More than 100 health and social care providers have signed up to the scheme to ensure personal information and possessions remain close to a person if they’re admitted to hospital.

Around 50 care homes will initially use the distinctive red bag when residents are set for a spell in hospital. It will contain information about their health, medication and allergies as well as personal items like pyjamas and hearing aids.

The scheme will be rolled out across all care homes in the Bradford and Craven districts later in the year.

Paramedic and ambulance staff will be able to access information quickly from the bag, improving communication and care

Once the patient is in hospital the bag provides a single easily identifiable place to keep things that are precious to them so their details don’t get lost in transit.

The pilot scheme has initially been funded by the NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), but is run in partnership with Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT), Bradford District NHS Foundation Care Trust, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, and local care home providers.

Tried and tested

Andrea Gillespie, Nursing and Midwifery Quality Lead at BTHFT, said: “The Red Bag Scheme is tried and tested and delivers immediate health benefits to care home residents and other vulnerable people when they have to go into hospital.

“Having access to an individual’s medical information and care needs in this way means we can get on with delivering the healthcare they require sooner and more effectively.”

Sohail Abbas, Clinical Lead for Bradford City CCG, said: “We support vulnerable people living in care homes, and elsewhere, to be healthy and happy at home. But there are times when they need to go in to hospital and, when they do, the Red Bag Pathway helps to make this a more positive experience, with better health outcomes.

“It is a practical tool that keeps people’s belongings safe, as well as a simple and effective way to share critical information with health workers from different services so they can work effectively together as a team.

“This helps communication between care home, ambulance, hospital and other staff and helps get people the care and treatment they need so they can come safely home as soon as possible.”

Karen Walker, Deputy Director of Nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“When a patient comes into the hospital, they may have already seen their local GP and ambulance staff. The red bag allows us to better understand the needs of the patient.

“It also gives those people the comfort of having their own clothes and personal items to reassure them during their stay.”