Care homes and hospitals across County Durham & Darlington
are working together to make sure that when residents need to be
admitted to hospital, the transition between the two places of care
is as smooth as possible - particularly for people with dementia or
who, for some other reason, can't easily communicate.
Distinctive red bags are now used to take essential information,
medication and other items such as glasses and hearing aids, to
hospital. The bag travels with the patient, so there's no
delay. Some care homes are also using the red bags to send in
vital information with patients having an outpatient
Norman Devlin, senior nurse for integrated discharge at County
Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, "Being admitted
to hospital is a worrying time for anyone and the adjustment can be
difficult - but the experience can be much harder for patients with
dementia. We're constantly looking for ways to make things
run as smoothly for them as possible avoiding the distress even
minor changes can cause. The red bags are also great for our
hospital teams who have vital information at their fingertips."
Carol Jones, manager at Lindisfarne Care Home in Newton
Aycliffe, part of Gainford Care Homes, who has been using the red
bags for several months, said, "They're definitely helping improve
communication between ourselves and the hospital teams. In
particular, I've noticed a reduction in the phone calls we get
asking for, or checking, information when a patient has perhaps
been transferred from the emergency department to a ward. Now, much
of the information clinicians need, such as medication charts,
travels with the patient in the red bag.
"Around 85% of our residents have dementia and we're able to
give them most of the care they need here at Lindisfarne. But
we have certain documents completed in case admission is
needed. These include the patient's individual, 'This is me'
leaflet which includes details such as the name the patient prefers
to be called by, which can be different from their given name and
the extent to which they're able to care for themselves on a daily
basis. The leaflet also details if there's anything that
upsets or worries the patient, their preferred routines and whether
they have any specific dietary needs or restrictions. It also
has details of the patient's background, family, friends and their
current and past interests, jobs and places they've lived.
The red bag also includes next of kin details."
Norman Devlin added, "We work closely with care homes anyway but
are always looking for ways to simplify and streamline processes so
the care and experience we give patients are the best they can
be. The red bags are proving very effective."
Published 5th August 2019
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community