Red bag pilot project to improve care for elderly going into A&E at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn

Red bag scheme being introduced at 15 care homes PHOTO: QEH King's Lynn

Red bag scheme being introduced at 15 care homes PHOTO: QEH King's Lynn - Credit: Archant

Emergency care for older patients is being improved thanks to a pilot scheme being introduced to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Frail and seriously ill patients can arrive at A&E disorientated and unable to provide clinicians with their medical history or medications.

Now, residents from 16 care homes, will be accompanied by a red bag, which contains vital medical information and personal belongings.

Ciara Moore, chief operating officer, said: “We are delighted to be working with the 16 care homes along with our colleagues in the East of England Ambulance Service on a project that is going to make a huge difference.

“Seriously ill patients who are disorientated are not always able to provide a medical history to our doctors and nurses but our teams will now have the full picture thanks to the red bags.

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“This hospital is on a mission to provide the highest standard of care for older patients.”

The bags are the latest in a series of developments at the hospital to enhance care for older patients, which includes the creation of Windsor Frailty Ward along with fighting deconditioning syndrome by encouraging patients to get up and dressed to retain mobility and independence.

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The red bag contains standardized paper work detailing information about the patient’s general standard of health along with medical history.

This information allows doctors to make informed and quick clinical decisions along with providing smooth and efficient handovers from ambulance crews.

The Red Bags will remain with the patient during their stay at the hospital and also contain personal belongings.

Claire Roberts, associate director of patient experience, said it: “Is a simple but innovative approach to improving communication between care homes and the hospital when residents are admitted into hospital.

“Staff can immediately find out all the vital information they need to know to begin to help the person and commence treatment.

“It also acts as a flag to ensure our staff keep the care home up to date with what is happening and that planning for discharge is undertaken in conjunction with them.

“When the patient is ready to return there is an agreed set of information from the hospital that goes into the red bag and this ensures that the staff at the care home are fully informed of all that has taken place and any changes to treatment or medication.”

Senior project manager A J Weir said: “We are initially working with 16 care homes on this project but hope to increase that number in the future.”

Funding has come from the hospital’s charitable funds and The League of Friends.”

The pilot scheme was developed from a successful scheme in Surrey.

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