Red bag

A red bag: a small change packing a difference

The red bag is an example of one initiative which is helping to improve communication between care homes and hospitals at all points of the resident’s journey.

When a resident becomes unwell and is assessed as needing hospital care, care home staff pack a dedicated red bag that includes the resident’s standardised paperwork and their medication, as well as day-of-discharge clothes and other personal items.

This is a simple change which facilitates a smoother handover between care home, ambulance and hospital staff. NHS Sutton clinical commissioning group (CCG) found that residents with a red bag spent four days less in hospital than those without a red bag.

NHS England has produced a number of quick guides to provide guidance to care homes, commissioners and providers.