NHS scheme speeds up elderly hospital admissions

Red bag scheme launch at Kingston Hosptial emergency dept

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare (HRCH) NHS Trust has launched a new scheme designed to help elderly care home residents receive quick and effective treatment in hospital.

The ‘red bag’ initiative is designed to help elderly residents in Richmond who are transferred to A&E at Kingston Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital by London Ambulance Service.

Sasha Pearce, senior clinical transformation lead at HRCH said: “We’ve launched the red bag scheme for elderly care home residents in the borough of Richmond to help reduce the length of stay in hospital, should the person need emergency hospital treatment.

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“Elderly patients can deteriorate very quickly in hospital environments, so we have been looking for ways to speed up the treatment process and get them home faster. Evidence from the red bag scheme, which has been used in Sutton for some time, shows an average reduction of the length of stay in hospital of four days.

“The initiative provides ambulance and hospital staff with all of the patient’s information that they need to provide faster and more effective treatment – such as details of medications and general health information and current concerns; whilst also improving care and dignity for the patient while they’re at hospital – ensuring they have access to key possessions such as glasses, dentures, and a change of clothes to go home in.

“Discharge information is also put back into the bag so the care home can ensure any advice is followed up straight away, instead of waiting to hear from the GP.

“We have enjoyed working closely with local care home and hospital staff to develop this scheme – and are really excited and grateful that all our health partners have been so positive about making this work.”

HRCH NHS Trust developed the red bag initiative together with Richmond Community Health in Partnership, Richmond CCG, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Foundation NHS Trust – West Middlesex Hospital, London Ambulance Service and representatives of Richmond care homes.

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The author Lee Peart

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