Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

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Red Bag initiative making a big difference in Luton

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Luton Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG) has launched a simple initiative to help people living in care homes receive quick and effective transfer and treatment should they need to go into hospital.

The LCCG initiative has been developed in partnership with Luton and Dunstable Hospital,Cambridgeshire Community Services Rapid Response Team, East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST), Luton Borough Council and care homes around Luton.

The "Red Bag" keeps important information about the health of a resident in one place, which is easily accessible to ambulance and hospital staff. It contains standardised information about the resident's general health, any existing medical conditions they have, medication they are taking, and their current health concern. 

This means that ambulance and hospital staff can determine the treatment a resident needs more effectively.

It also contains personal belongings (such as clothes for day of discharge, glasses, etc) and it stays with the patient whilst they are in hospital. When patients are ready to return to the home, a copy of their discharge summary letter will be placed in the red bag so that staff have access to the information when their resident arrives back at the care or learning disabilities home.

Benefits of the Red Bag

  • The Red Bag aims to improve patients' experience of being taken to and from hospital and provides more patient centred care.
  • Improve efficiency in the admission and discharge process through having important information readily available in one place, saving time at each stage of the patient's care and allows staff to make more informed decisions about the person they are caring for.
  • Improve communication between all staff involved in the resident’s care when they are transferred to and from hospital.
  • Help clearly identify a patient as being a care home resident and this means that it may be possible for the patient to be discharged sooner, resulting in more inclusive discharge planning and clearer coordination of medicines.
  • Reduces the risk that documentation and personal belongings may be lost.

The following video link from the Sutton Homes of Care Vanguard provides resident perspectives of the Red Bag pathway.

What goes into the Red Bag? 

The Red Bag contains standardised information/paperwork, some medication and personal belongings.  Standardised documents to be included in the Red Bag (listed in order) are provided below as a guide.

1. Confidentiality form
2. Red Bag checklist
3. CARES Escalation Record (hospital transfer form)
4. Care home residents assessment form (or equivalent)
5. Anticipatory Care Plan
6. MAR Sheet
7. Red Bag cleaning instructions 
If applicable:
8. DNACPR certificate
9. This is me leaflet (for residents with dementia)
10. Anticoagulant Book
11. Catheter Passport  
Requirements of staff at each stage of the Red Bag Journey

Please click on the sections below to view the responsibilities and requirements of staff at each stage of the Red Bag journey.

Key points for all staff

Red Bag Transfer Pathway, a quick guide

Care home staff - Outbound to hospital

Ambulance staff

Hospital staff: arrival at hospital and stay on ward

Hospital staff: discharge

Ambulance/patient transport staff

Care home staff – Upon resident return

Toolkits and Resources 





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