Sometimes care home residents need specialist medical attention that requires they take a trip to the hospital or even pay multiple visits in order for treatment to be carried out. When this happens, you and the resident concerned may not have much notice in order to organise their transfer or to collect together things they may need during their trip.
This can lead to confusion when they arrive at the other end with medical professionals hunting for medical records and medication, or residents feeling unsure of what personal items and clothing they have with them.
Recognising the issues surrounding transfer of residents between social and medical care, the London Borough of Sutton in partnership with the NHS has recently implemented a new scheme to help all involved to enjoy a smoother and less stressful transition. And, fuelling faster and more fuss-free switchovers are lots of little red bags…
As a care home owner or worker you’ll appreciate how useful it is to be able to recognise and locate specialist equipment and other items you need quickly and easily. From PPE kits stored in brightly coloured boxes through to colour coded systems that give residents an indication of what lies behind different doors, many care homes already rely on visibility improvement techniques to make day-to-day life easier for staff and occupants.
The ‘red bag scheme’ introduced in the London Borough of Sutton builds on these tried and tested concepts. Standardised information about resident’s health can be found stored inside them along with details of medical conditions, medication and any issues currently affecting the individual. This makes it far easier for ambulance or hospital staff to assess a resident’s needs quickly should an emergency arise.
Personal belongings like clothes, dentures, glasses and hearing aids can be stored in the easy to recognise bags to accompany the patient too. When the patient is ready for discharge, a summary report is placed in the bag providing care home workers with important details that will help inform the care plan for the patient on their return into residential care. Because the bags are unique to care home residents, patients are easily identified as such, which may also allow individuals to be discharged more quickly as medical staff will likely be more confident that their needs will be met.
Though the red bag scheme has only been in full operation a matter of months it has been received well. So much so that other areas including Hertfordshire are reportedly considering adopting the scheme. You can find out more information by watching this video explaining the scheme or visiting the Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group website.
What do you think of the Red Bag scheme? Do you think it has potential to be rolled out nationally? Could you see it working to help staff and residents in your home or do you already have something similar in operation? We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave us a comment below.