Sutton CCG wanted to reduce delays and improve communication for care home residents needing to be transferred to hospital. As part of the New Care Models Vanguard programme, the CCG worked with stakeholders across the local health system to open up the blockages and design a new way for information, medication and belongings to travel consistently and reliably with each resident in a  ‘red bag’.

We developed an engagement and education approach to help all staff involved understand the new pathway. Our team developed information posters that are displayed in all care homes, and a training film. The film, which tells the story of Betty and her red bag, gives a clear and simple overview of the red bag to people who need to use it. We also led engagement events to involve care home residents and their families in designing and understanding the red bag pathway.

Training video has now been viewed almost 5,000 times

Our education and promotional programme were central to the success of the red bag pathway, which is now understood across the health and social care system. It has significantly improved communications and relationships between care homes and the local hospital. The ambulance service reports smoother transfers and fewer delays when taking a resident from a care home to hospital, and early findings from the local hospital are that more timely medical assessments are taking place.

The red bag is used for records, medication and belongings for patients being transferred between care homes and hospital. This simple innovation has enabled staff to consistently and quickly pull these together, reducing delays in transfers of care and ambulance waiting times. Patients have also been able to take their own personal clothes and effects with them, which has reduced their distress.