NHS staff and care homes in North Devon have partnered up to improve the experience for people who are admitted to hospital from a care home, simply by using a red bag.

When a care home resident becomes unwell and needs hospital care, the care home staff will pack a dedicated red bag that includes their medication, clothes, toiletries and other personal items, as well as specially designed paperwork containing information about their health and personal items.

This bag travels with the resident and ensures that the hospital staff and resident have everything they need, making the handover smoother between care home, ambulance and hospital.

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) staff have initially supported seven care homes in North Devon to start using the red bags when residents are admitted to hospital. They will be working with other care homes and nursing homes in the near future.

Angela Walter, Admiral Nurse at NDHT, is leading the project and said: “This is a simple idea but it makes a huge difference to our patients. We are providing a couple of red bags for each residential home or nursing home that wishes to be part of this scheme and we can help them arrange additional bags.

“I’m looking forward to visiting more care homes soon to talk about the red bag scheme, but if anyone wants to get started straightaway, or if you want to arrange a bag for a loved one who is a resident, please get in touch.”

The seven care homes in North Devon starting to use the red bags are Castle House, Fremington Manor, Hatchmoor, Kenwith Castle, Oaklands, Primrose House and Tyspane. NDHT’s North Devon care homes team works with all of these care homes, providing free training, education and support to help them improve the care they give to residents.

Sarah Winfield-Davies, safeguarding nurse and team lead for the North Devon care homes team, said: “This is another excellent example of the independent care sector and NDHT working in partnership to improve care for residents. I am thrilled that the care home staff we work with have been so enthusiastic about launching the scheme, and I’m looking forward to helping Angela get more care homes involved.”

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