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Red bags are green for go

Red bags are green for go
04 June 2018

A ‘handy’ initiative aims to help care and nursing home residents across Portsmouth and south east Hampshire receive quicker and more effective treatment if they need to go to hospital in an emergency.

The "red bag" scheme involves keeping important information about a care home resident's health in one place, making it easily accessible to ambulance and hospital staff.

It is being paid for by Portsmouth Better Care Fund and Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), using £9,300 of national funding for new models of care.

Some 109 red bags have been bought for care homes in Portsmouth. A further 82 are available in 29 homes in the South Eastern Hampshire, Fareham and Gosport CCG areas.

The bags contains standardised information about the resident's general health, any existing medical conditions they have, the medication they are taking, and highlights any current health concerns – which helps ambulance and hospital staff determine the treatment someone needs much more quickly and effectively.

They also have room for personal belongings, such as clothes for the day of discharge, glasses, dentures and a hearing aid.

When patients are ready to go home, a copy of their discharge summary, detailing every aspect of the care they received in hospital, is put in the red bag for care home staff to access. 

The ‘red bags’ also clearly identify a patient as being a care home resident which may make it possible for them to be discharged sooner as care home staff have been involved in discussions with the hospital, understand the resident’s needs and can support them on their return.

Campbell Todd, Head of Integrated Care for SEH and F&G the three CCGs, said: “The Red Bag scheme has made a big difference in other areas where it has been used, such as Norfolk.

“With standardised forms for every patient, the handover to the ambulance crew should be much more efficient and the process of transferring patients from the care home to hospital faster. 

“One of the crucial aspects of our evaluation work will be to see the impact on a patient’s length of stay in hospital with the hope that those who have ‘red bags’ will have a shorter length of stay.”

F&G and SEH CCGs are part of the Hampshire CCG Partnership, comprising the clinical commissioning groups of Fareham and Gosport, South Eastern Hampshire, North Hampshire and North East Hampshire and Farnham.