Media Release

Bagging a new initiative to help enhance emergency care

Emergency care for older patients is going to be enhanced thanks to a new pilot scheme which is being introduced to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

 Frail and seriously ill patients can arrive at Accident and Emergency disorientated and unable to provide clinicians with their medical history or medications.

From Monday, March 20, residents from 16 care homes will be accompanied by a Red Bag, which contains vital medical information and personal belongings.

This is the latest in a series of developments at the hospital to enhance care for older patients, which includes the creation of Windsor Frailty Ward along with fighting Deconditioning Syndrome by encouraging patients to get up and dressed to retain mobility and independence. This work supports the #EndPJparalysis campaign, which is a global and national initiative.

Chief Operating Officer Ciara Moore said: “We are delighted to be working with the 16 care homes along with our colleagues in the East of England Ambulance Service on a project that is going to make a huge difference.

“Seriously ill patients who are disorientated are not always able to provide a medical history to our doctors and nurses but our teams will now have the full picture thanks to the Red Bags.

“This hospital is on a mission to provide the highest standard of care for older patients.”

The pilot scheme has been developed from a successful scheme run from the Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group in Surrey by the hospital’s Transformation Team.

The Red Bag contains standardised paper work detailing information about the patient’s general standard of health along with medical history.

This information allows doctors to make informed and quick clinical decisions along with providing smooth and efficient handovers from ambulance crews.

The Red Bags will remain with the patient during their stay at the hospital and also contain personal belongings.

Associate Director of Patient Experience Claire Roberts said: “The Red Bag programme is a simple but innovative approach to improving communication between Care Homes and the hospital when residents are admitted into hospital.

“The paperwork contained within the bag ensures that when the person arrives at the hospital, staff can immediately find out all the vital information they need to know to begin to help the person and commence treatment.

“It also acts as a flag to ensure our staff keep the Care Home up to date with what is happening and that planning for discharge is undertaken in conjunction with them.

“When the patient is ready to return there is an agreed set of information from the hospital that goes into the Red Bag and this ensures that the staff at the Care Home are fully informed of all that has taken place and any changes to treatment or medication.

“Overall the red bag project will hopefully lead to improvements in care for people from Care Homes by improving communication, highlighting patients from Care Homes to promote a joint approach to planning both care and discharge arrangements, reducing delays and ensuring a smooth transition into and out of the hospital.”

Senior Project Manager A J Weir said: “We are initially working with 16 care homes on this project but we hope to increase that number in the future.

“We have been able to introduce this scheme thanks to the hospital’s Charitable Funds, which has paid for the bags. A further cohort of bags has been funded by The League of Friends.”


Hospital Chair Edward Libbey with some of the hospital’s Care Home partners at the Red Bag Launch

 Notes to Editors:

#EndPJparalysis is a global and national initiative which is looking to prevent older patients from losing the ability to do everyday tasks.

Ten days of bedrest can equate to 10 years of muscle ageing in people over the age of 80. For some older patients who are able to climb the stairs, a 10 per cent loss of strength can make the difference between dependence and independence.

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