'Red bags' could aid Salisbury hospital patients' recovery

'Red bags' could aid Salisbury hospital patients' recovery

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 5:48am 15th July 2019.

Local health bosses are working with care homes to roll out the scheme this month, in the hope it'll cut the length of ward stays.

It's an idea that's already being used in Hampshire and Dorset, with Salisbury the latest to bring it in.

Patients going from care homes into hospital put all their essential items into a red bag that's kept with them at all times.

Maddie Weir from Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group explains what that contains:

"It's going to have things that they need to communicate, so hearing aids, glasses; medication in the case of Salisbury patients; and then the document slip in the back of the bag has a bespoke hospital transfer form that all of our nursing homes are using in addition to any medication records and any hospital records they might need."

NHS Red Bag Project
The NHS is hoping the scheme will eventually be rolled out across the country


Feedback from other areas where the project's being used suggest having all of a patient's personal items together makes them feel more relaxed about going to hospital.

In turn, that means they respond better to treatment as they're not worried about where their belongings are.

Wiltshire CCG NHS Red Bag
Patients going from care homes into hospital put all their essential items into a red bag

Maddie Weir from Wiltshire CCG says the benefits could be huge:

"(Red bag use) actually reduced length of stays by 3.3 to 4 days, which is quite significant. It also saved quite a lot of money in lost belongings and ensured that all of the documents that went into hospital came out again, so you have good continuity of care."

Care Home Nursing
It's hoped the scheme will make hospital transfers as stress-free for patients as possible

The scheme will be launched in Salisbury by the end of this month and then the rest of Wiltshire later this year.


Wiltshire CCG is also working alongside nursing homes to try and reduce the number of emergency hospital admissions in the county in the first place.

They're trying to promote hydration within care facilities and preventing urinary tract infections.

Nursing homes are also being asked not to use dipstick tests with over 65s, as they can often give false positive readings and mean patients are prescribed medication that won't help them.

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