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Vulnerable people to receive more personalised care through new pilot scheme


It can be distressing for vulnerable people being admitted to or discharged from hospital, therefore a new Red Bag pilot scheme has been launched to ensure they have all the important information they need with them.

The Red Bag scheme, led by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, has started an 8-week pilot in Wrexham Maelor Hospital working in partnership with five private care homes across South Wrexham.

Each care home has chosen around 20 of their residents to be part of the pilot, so when any of them go to hospital they take their red bag with them which includes their key paperwork, medication and personal items. 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, as well what may trigger or soothe the patient.

Lisa Jones-Tattum, Community Advanced Nurse Practitioner, said: “Having all their details to hand in a consistent manner means that less time will need to be spent by hospital staff contacting care homes to ask questions about their patient, and vice-versa, when the patient goes back or into a care home their paperwork will be up-to-date giving care home staff timely updates on their medical condition.

“This can really reassure patients at what can be a distressing time, and really make a difference to the speed of care they receive."

As well as medical information the Red Bag also includes next of kin details and individualised information regarding residents, including baseline functionality data, cognitive ability. This is important for all residents but particularly for those with dementia.

Natalie Jenkins-Jones, Community Advanced Nurse Practitioner, added “We’ve worked really well with the care homes who have been enthusiastic about the pilot scheme. Improving how we communicate with each other is a great example of the difference we can make when we work together, and how something quite simple can actually have a huge impact.”

Cherry Tree care home which is part of the pilot scheme has volunteered all 37 of its residents to take part and has seen a noticeable difference already.

Tracey Campbell, Cherry Tree Manager, said: “We are very proud to have been invited to be part of the Red Bag scheme, having previously experienced some issues with hospital admissions and discharges.

“We hope the scheme becomes a national standard and want to remain involved in the future, working closely with fantastic people whose passion for this scheme is evident at each and every turn. We are already seeing the positive impact for our residents and staff.”

The Rainbow Foundation, that has a Rainbow Centre in Penley, a charity organisation that delivers home care and day opportunities, has also joined the pilot scheme. They have given bags to those they deliver care to at home to help them in case they go to hospital.

Elaine Nott, Home First Project Lead, said: "Staff in the Emergency Department and admission areas have found the Red Bag scheme very helpful, and report how the information contained within the file has assisted with the patient admission process. Staff have found the information easy to access, and the functional assessment details provide a baseline of the patient's condition, which supports staff and other members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team to care for that resident. It also has been beneficial when planning their discharge back to the care home once medically improved.”

The pilot will be reviewed early this year with the aims of expanding it across North Wales. 

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