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Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust ‘bags’ scheme that improves care for elderly patients in Hampshire.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has been working in partnership with care homes across Hampshire by introducing the ‘Red Bag’ scheme that will dramatically improve the experience of elderly and frail patients being admitted and discharged from hospital. 

When a patient becomes ill, care home staff ensure that they receive a ‘red bag’ that contains details regarding their health, history and also personal belongings.  This means that on admission or discharge to hospital a health care professional will have direct access to important patient information allowing them to identify the care they need to treat them quickly and efficiently; helping to reduce their hospital stay (in some cases) by up to 4.4 days.

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This simple yet effective scheme, initially launched in Sutton, was introduced by Claire Eastick, Consultant Nurse for Frailty, and Abigail Barkham, Consultant Nurse for Frailty, in Basingstoke, Alton, Winchester and Andover. 

Abigail Barkham, Consultant Nurse for Frailty says ‘We are really passionate about ensuring that patients with frailty get the best possible care.  The Red Bags have enabled us to work across the local system to enhance the care that those living in care homes can receive when the go in and out of hospital'

Care homes are already seeing an impact of the scheme on the people they support.

Deborah Macartney, Registered Manager at Moorside Care Home St Johns Winchester, ‘The Red Bag scheme has improved communication between the services and my team feel confident that there is now a route for better understanding of person centred care.  Likewise, on returning home the Red Bag provides an important handover report.  We have definitely seen an improvement in the experience for individuals living with conditions such as dementia.'

The red scheme bag has been made possible by Southern Health’s Frailty Team who have been actively fundraising across Hampshire and have so far raised an incredible £6,300! Among the donations were, Basingstoke Civil Service Retirement Fellowship who gave £50, Basingstoke Deane Rotary Club who donated £1000 and £50 from their Inner Wheel, Winchester Rotary Club who donated £200 and the Trust’s charity, brighterway donated £5000.

Andrew Clark, Head of Charity commented ‘brighterway was delighted to fund over 100 Red Bags to be used in the north- mid areas of the county. Getting older people back into their homes aids quicker recovery and can avoid further unnecessary health conditions developing.  We are passionate about rolling the scheme to new areas of Hampshire very soon.’

Claire and her team are always looking for extra funding,  if you would like to get involved and  help fund Red Bags in Care Homes locally please do get in touch: charity@southernhealth.nhs.uk   www.brighterway.org.uk