As the health and care sectors now depend on each other more than ever before, several NHS initiatives have been designed to make care more proactive in care homes across the country.
One of these initiatives is the ‘Red Bag’ scheme which gives reassurance to patients that they have everything they need with them when they are admitted to hospital. This simple idea, which started three years ago in Sutton, is now being rolled out across the country and will be implemented in Kirklees from 4 July 2018.
The scheme has been funded by the Better Care Fund and is designed to improve patient care and help care home residents admitted to hospital be discharged quicker. Red bags containing key paperwork, medication and personal items like glasses, slippers and dentures, are handed to ambulance crews by carers and travel with patients to hospital where they are then handed to the hospital staff on admission.
The bags also provide hospital staff with up-to-date information about an individual’s health, including any health concerns, and any medication that the patient is taking. Having all these things to hand means that hospital staff won’t need to contact care home staff to ask questions which can be time consuming and could potentially delay treatment.
It also means that patients are discharged back to the home with key information regarding treatment they have received, saving calls to the hospital for much needed information.
Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG and local GP said:
“Having information about a patient’s health readily available saves time at each stage of the patient’s care, speeding up their treatment and potentially reducing the length of time they need to stay in hospital. It’s a really straightforward idea that can make a big difference to patient care.”
Another initiative being launched alongside Red Bags is the NHS England ‘Bed State Tool’. This is an online portal that enables care providers to advertise bed vacancies in one place. Care homes will be able to update the portal on a regular basis to give an up to the minute picture of bed availability.
Using the Bed State Tool to gain a clearer picture of bed availability across Kirklees will help reduce delayed transfers of care and have the knock-on effect of supporting winter pressures in the local hospitals. It will also enable better use of hospital staff time as they won’t have to regularly phone around care homes after care home to try and locate a vacant bed.
Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local GP said:
“Finding suitable care for elderly patients that have been discharged from hospital is often time-consuming and can lead to what is often referred to as ‘bed-blocking’. This new online portal will enable discharge teams to locate vacant care home beds quickly, allowing patients to recuperate in a more suitable environment and freeing up more hospital beds for those in need.”
The CCGs in Kirklees are pleased to be supporting these two initiatives that aim to improve hospital transfer times and build on positive and proactive working relationships between care home staff and those working in hospitals.