How a simple red bag improved care for care home resident Patricia

Case study summary

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.

It’s a simple change which is proving to have benefits for patients like Patricia.


One care home resident who has recently benefitted from the red bag scheme is Patricia Anderson, who is 78 and a resident at The Village Care Home, in South Hylton, Sunderland. When Patricia, who has dementia, stumbled and bumped her head care home staff knew it was imperative that she received medical attention as soon as possible due to the combination of the fall, having a heart condition and taking warfarin.

A care worker from the home accompanied Patricia to A&E at Sunderland Royal Hospital where Patricia’s red bag really proved its worth. It was packed with Patricia’s information about her medical history,  personal details, items and medication, hospital staff were confidently and safely able to treat her and have her ‘home’ in an hour and half.

Patricia wasn’t able to explain to hospital staff what had happened or how she was feeling, but care home staff had recorded Patricia’s current state and any notable changes in her condition within documentation in the red bag. Without all this invaluable information, the transfer of care and swift discharge might not have been possible.

Patricia’s transfer of care was a great example of how the red bag can really be of benefit, and this was confirmed when one of the nurses from the Sunderland Royal Hospital, who treated Patricia, phoned Tracey McCully, the Village Care Home’s  manager to extend her thanks and praise the red bag scheme.

Tracey McCully, from the Village Care Home said: “The Red Bag is a simple idea that makes a big difference.

“It’s early days, but the communication around residents’ hospital transfer process has been excellent with everyone involved working together. For us it’s satisfying that we now have a voice and are listened to and for our patient’s it means that they get the care they need quickly and more efficiently.”