The Red Bag Project aims to give residents in care homes safe and effective support when travelling to the hospital in an emergency

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The Red Bag Project

The Red Bag Project is a joint service between the Council and the CCG. The project focuses on supporting care home residents should they need to go to Hospital in an emergency. It aims at improving transition along the hospital pathway as per NICE guidance.

There are over 40 Red Bag care homes in the city.

What is the Red Bag?

When referred to Hospital, residents will receive a Red Bag, which contains:

  • standardised paperwork
  • medication
  • personal belongings

The bag stays with the care home resident at all time during their journey until they return back to their care home.

An Overview Document can be found on our Toolkit and Procedures page

View Toolkit and Procedures page

Benefits of the Red Bag

The scheme was first launched in Wolverhampton in 2017. Since then the Red Bag Project has delivered many benefits, including:

  • improved patient experience
  • improved communication between homes, ambulance staff and hospital staff
  • reducing avoidable hospital admissions due to the information held within the Bag

Click the options below to see the benefits to specific groups of people.

Benefits for Care Home residents
  • Improving patient experience 
  • Reduction in anxieties from missing items that are in the Red Bag
  • Improving patient safety by standard paperwork which all care homes use
  • Improving communication between services by sharing information
  • Treating residents with dignity and respect
  • Personal aids available to resident
  • Change of clothes to come home in
  • Better information allows for quicker diagnosis and discharge
Benefits for Care Home staff
  • Up to date baseline information, ready to go with ambulance. You only need to update details on the current episode.
  • There will be a smoother handover to ambulance.
  • Accurate and up to date clinical info means the Hospital can provide the correct care.
  • Less time spent on phone with hospital.
  • Hospital can identify care home resident and take the appropriate steps.
  • Less likely to misplace important documents contained within the bag.
  • Updated information and medicines during discharge shows the care given by the hospital. This will include any changes to care provision.
  • Open discussions resulting in better working relationships.
Benefits for Ambulance staff
  • Smoother, quicker handover from care home and handover to hospital
  • Assurance that clinical information is in place
  • Red Bag helps identify patient as a care home resident
  • Standardised paperwork easier to use
  • Know where to look for information required
  • Clinical history and baseline info of patient available. Details about current episode available to make quick, informed decisions.
  • Better relationship with care homes
  • Handovers are not so rushed during a stressful situation
Benefits for Hospital staff
  • Smoother admission process with details about the current episode.
  • Medical history and clinical information comes from an informed source
  • Quick, informed clinical decisions
  • Baseline health information prevents therapists from pushing patients too far
  • No requirement for multiple tests if there is a thorough history
  • Less time spent phoning home for info
  • Consistency of care between hospital and care home
  • Care home residents can have a smoother discharge process
  • Open discussions between care home and hospital

"I find [the Red Bags] extremely useful when they are with the patient, especially with cognitively impaired patients"

The Fraility Team, New Cross Hospital, March 2020

For further information and to implement the Red Bag Project, access the Red Bag Toolkit

Access the Red Bag Toolkit


External Links

NICE Guidance

NHS England

Original Sutton Vanguard Project

Contact us

Susan Eagle - Commissioning Team

Call 01902 555344

Email Red Bag Project