IMPROVED hospital care for vulnerable people could be in the bag.

A pilot scheme, known as the Red Bag Pathway, has been launched across the Bradford district, Wharfedale and Craven.

More than 100 health and social care professionals have signed-up to the initiative.

The aim is to ensure that a person’s personal information and possessions remain with them if they’re admitted to hospital. Initially, 50 care homes are involved.

Anyone going into hospital will take with them one of the distinctive red bags.

It will contain details of their health, medication and allergies, as well as personal items such as pyjamas and hearing aids.

Paramedics and ambulance staff collecting the person from the home will be able to quickly access the information. And once the patient is admitted, the bag will provide a single, easily-identifiable place where items can be found.

It is planned to roll-out the venture to all care homes in the district later this year.

The pilot scheme is being funded by the NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

But several partner organisations are involved, including Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care Trust and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, together with care home providers.

Sohail Abbas, clinical lead for Bradford City CCG, says the scheme will make a huge difference for care home residents who have to be admitted to hospital

“We support vulnerable people living in care homes – and elsewhere – to be healthy and happy at home,” he added. “But there are times when they need to go into hospital and, when they do, the Red Bag Pathway helps to make this a more positive experience, with better health outcomes.

“It is a practical tool that keeps people’s belongings safe, as well as a simple and effective way to share critical information with health workers from different services so they can work effectively together as a team.

“This assists communication between the care home, the ambulance service, hospital and other staff and helps get people the care and treatment they need so they can go safely home as soon as possible.”

Andrea Gillespie, nursing and midwifery quality lead at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, also welcomes the initiative.

She said: “The Red Bag Pathway delivers immediate health benefits to care home residents and to other vulnerable people when they have to go into hospital. Having access to an individual’s medical information and care needs in this way means we can get on with delivering the health care they require sooner and more effectively.”

And Karen Walker, deputy director of nursing at Airedale, said: “When a patient comes into the hospital, they may have already seen their local GP and ambulance staff.

“The red bag allows us to better understand the needs of the patient.

“It also gives the person concerned the comfort of having their own clothes and personal items to reassure them during their stay.”