Previously, care home providers had separate sets of patient records which sometimes lacked up-to-date information on patients’ ongoing treatment and any special requirements they may have.
Now, the care home prepares and maintains the patient’s ‘red bag’ – a bag containing standardised paperwork, medication and personal belongings – and it is passed to ambulance staff on arrival. Any specific questions that arise are answered at the time by staff and the red bag remains with the patient from the moment they leave the care home to the end of their stay at hospital.
The initiative ensures that everyone caring for the patient will have the vital information they need to hand, helping to make staff more informed about the patients’ needs.
The bag also contains information on a patient’s dedicated care facility, helping to speed up their release from the hospital setting. This also ensures the care home continues to receive updates on the patient’s treatment while in hospital, keeping everyone up to date on their condition.
Linda Fishburn, who is the Trust’s clinical lead for the hospital to home programme, said: “Red Bag, like most great initiatives, is effective because of its simplicity. It’s a really easy and effective way for healthcare professionals to provide coordinated care that means the patient’s individual needs are met.
“Red Bag will also prove crucial in ensuring the Trust meets requirements of upcoming National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on the transition of patients between the care homes and hospital settings.
“We’re already seeing benefits for both staff and patients at pilot sites and, after reviewing the feedback and making any further improvements, we’re looking to roll it out to all care homes on the island.