A small change packing a big difference at Garth House

At Garth House care home with nursing in Dorking, ‘The Red Bag’ is an initiative which is helping to improve communication between our care home and hospitals.

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

The idea is a simple, effective initiative to help our residents receive quick and effective treatment should they need to go into hospital.

The Red Bag contains standardised information about the resident’s general health, any existing medical conditions they have, medication they are taking, as well as highlighting the current health concern.  It also has room for personal belongings (such as clothes for day of discharge, glasses, hearing aid, dentures, etc) and it stays with the patient whilst they are in hospital.

This means that ambulance and hospital staff can determine the treatment our resident needs, quickly and more effectively.

Carol Taylor, Home Manager said:

“We are really pleased at Garth House to be involved in the local launch of the Red Bag system.  Lisa Glanz, Clinical Compliance Manager for Caring Homes, and I are always searching for ways to improve the quality of care for our Residents and this will help to ensure that transfers to and from Hospital will be more seamless. It is an exciting time for Garth House as we embrace new ways of working with other Healthcare Professionals at the same time raising the profile of Garth in the wider community.”

It also clearly identifies a patient as being our care home resident and this means that it may be possible for the patient to be discharged sooner. Members of our team at Garth House have been involved in discussions with the hospital and have an understanding of our residents’ care needs so are able to support them when they are discharged.

The great thing about the Red Bag is that, put simply, the service is just more patient focussed. Because the paperwork is standardised for every patient, the handover to the ambulance crew is much more efficient.  The process of transferring patients from Garth House to our care home to hospital is faster, and when patients arrive in hospital they receive the care they need much quicker.  The Red Bag really helps improve the patients’ experience of being taken to hospital in an emergency.

Garth House, Belmont House and Home of Compassion are the first Caring Homes’ homes to adopt the scheme. It takes a while to train colleagues to use the red bag system correctly, but all Caring Homes’ homes will be “Red Bag” homes by 2020.

At Garth House care home in Dorking we provide residential, nursing and dementia care for up to 40 elderly people. You can find us on the western slopes of Tower Hill, just to the south of Dorking in Surrey.

If you would like to find out more about life at Garth House and or events and activities we hold here at our home, please contact us on 0808 223 5507 or email garthhouse@CaringHomes.org.

Garth House

Home Manager

Carol Taylor


Tower Hill Road,

0808 223 5507
View care home

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