Sutton CCG wanted to reduce delays and improve communication for care home residents needing to be transferred to hospital. Previously, delays occurred while staff gathered the correct information and paperwork for ambulance staff, and while medical teams waited for care homes to provide additional clinical, drug and social information. Delays in decision making, treatment and discharge were negatively affecting the experience and outcomes of care home residents, along with more basic issues like being taken to hospital without their own clothes or other belongings.
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’. Through task and finish groups involving care home staff, local care providers and other stakeholders, new materials were co-designed to reflect the needs of each group.
With so many different organisations involved, engagement of care home residents and their families, and staff from across the health and care system, and communication of the new pathway have been central to its success. Our Creative and Digital 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, has been viewed over 1,000 times and gives a clear and simple overview of the Red Bag to people who need to use it. Our communications and engagement team has also helped to promote the new approach in staff newsletters for each of the organisations involved.
We also led engagement events to involve care home residents and their families in designing and understanding the Red Bag pathway.
The red bag pathway is well understood and the CCG reports that 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.