What should you do when a family member with dementia goes missing? Beyond calling 999 a new initiative established by Norfolk police should help speed up searches for vulnerable people.
Missing in Action
A war veteran of the Normandy landings named George Herbert, who lived with dementia in a Norfolk care home, has lent his name to The Herbert Protocol. It was initially designed to help Norfolk Police find people, such as Mr Herbert, who went missing from care homes, by encouraging carers to compile useful information which could be used in the event of a person going missing.
Completing the Herbert Protocol form
The idea is for carers, family members and friends to complete the form in advance and record vital details such as medication required, mobile numbers, places previously located (if they’ve gone missing before), and photographs. The Herbert Protocol forms also gather historic information such as where someone went to school; where they lived as a child; where they enjoyed going on holiday, and where they got married – any place where there was an emotional attachment and they might want to visit again.
Read more on the Herbert Protocol in our blog: The Herbert Procotol
Norfolk Police Dementia friendly approach
The Herbert Protocol has now been extended to any vulnerable person living in their own home or a care home with dementia. Championed by Norfolk Police, who following a Missing Person incident, will make a home visit, signposting people to other agencies and services, if and when necessary such as Norfolk Adult Services and social workers.
They can also offer Assistive Technology, such as door alarms, pressure mats and GPS tracking devices which could make a huge difference to alerting a carer when someone goes missing, and identifying their location so they can be returned home safe and sound. They also hand out useful information from the Alzheimer’s Society.
Once the Herbert Protocol form has been completed, it’s a good idea for relatives and carers to know exactly where it is, for instance in a prominent place in the person’s home, and for copies to be made.
Please visit http://www.norfolk.police.uk/advice/personal-safety/missing-people if you would like to download and complete the Herbert Protocol form on behalf of a family member.