Lewisham launches red bag scheme to help care home residents in hospital

The 'Red Bag' scheme was implemented in May, and has now reached every care home in Lewisham, Pic: Chris Best

The Red Bag scheme was implemented in May, and has now reached every care home in Lewisham, Pic: Chris Best

Elderly residents in care homes in Lewisham are to be given a special bag labelled with their personal medical information to take with them when they are admitted to hospital – and to use to store their personal items.

The Red Bag health scheme – which ensures ambulance and hospital staff know immediately which medications patients are taking and what conditions they might have – is being rolled out into every care home in the borough.

Martin Wilkinson from Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) told Eastlondonlines: ““We first implemented the red bag scheme in May, and have now put it in place for every care home in Lewisham. It’s a simple concept, but it has big impacts for keeping patient discharges safe and smooth from hospital back to their care homes. Now it is making a huge difference to care home patients across south London.”

In an earlier roll-out of the scheme in Sutton, it emerged that the bags prevented patients losing personal items such as dentures, glasses and hearing aids collectively worth £290,000 a year. It has been used 2,000 times in south London since April 2017.

The red bag also clearly identifies a patient as being a care home resident and provides hospital staff with the information they need to speed up clinical decisions.

Labour Councillor for Sydenham, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care Chris Best tweeted about the scheme at Peartree care home in Sydenham.

“Something as simple as the red bag scheme can make all the difference to care home residents,” Best told Eastlondonlines.

“It will ensure their transfer between care home and hospital is less stressful and will give them the added assurance of knowing they have everything they need – from essential documents and medication to change of clothes, glasses, hearing aids.

We’ve seen the success of the scheme in South London and I’m delighted that it’s being adopted not only in Lewisham but now across the country.”


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