For people, especially those vulnerable or living alone, to have a bag packed in case of sudden hospital admission so that they are able to communicate, function and participate in timely rehabilitation.
As an OT, I knew that not having dentures, glasses, clothes etc could delay rehab and admission length. Having familiar things also helps people with dementia or cognitive issues.
I worked on the idea, but had not developed it. At the beginning of lockdown, I launched a social media campaign as even more relevant. Later, with funding from the Lions, a small trial of packs was developed for those not on social media and from feedback from users and medical staff, 3000 were produced with a Community Covid grant for the locality.
Packs comprise of packing suggestions leaflet which you can download HERE, a large bag label and two stickers to alert emergency responders (one for inside front door and one, if necessary, for where bag stored).
The packed bag
A large carrier bag or small case can be used. If older, comfortable clothes are packed and purchase of duplicate items eg toothbrush etc (to saves time in emergency situation) are kept to a minimum, packing cost should be low.
This was done via pharmacies, Co-op supermarkets and a few care organisations. In the future, distribution via care providers, health centres etc would be appropriate.
Some said they did not want to scare parents or friends into thinking they would go to hospital because of Covid or they didn't feel it was appropriate to them as saw themselves as fit). At one zoom lung health group, none had packed a case despite having government text and being emailed my online version. Following a 'what if you or your partner tripped over the cat' type discussion, all said they would pack a bag and asked for packs.
Positive feedback has been received from people who have used their bags and also from those who wish they had (one put his aside and was admitted with heart issues with nothing and another was a fit lady who had packed a bag for her unwell husband, but it was she who fell and required hospital admission).
It is felt that there needs to be positive and appropriate promotion and for some, assistance with packing to ensure good take up.
To produce 3000 packs cost just over £1000, about 35p each. If this expenditure saves two days of admission through timely rehab, it will have been cost effective and that does not account for quality of stay. I have recently become aware of the Red Bag Scheme which has been running a similar intervention for care home residents, that has demonstrated significant savings.
Long term aims
Would like the idea promoted, used nation-wide and translated, so it becomes a norm, like having a fire alarm.