Craigavon man helps develop new pilot scheme to help trace missing people with dementia

A new pilot programme to help trace missing people with dementia has been launched this week.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 4:54 pm

The initiative, called the Herbert Protocol, aims to help police to quickly and safely find people who have dementia after they have been reported missing.

It was develooped with the help of Craigavon man Gerard Doran (62) who has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Gerard said: “People with dementia can experience significant memory loss and confusion. This can cause them to be unable to recognise places and faces. For some this can lead to wandering, going missing or getting lost when leaving home. The Herbert Protocol can help individuals with dementia, as well as carers, family and friends, to provide useful info that can help the police find a vulnerable person who may have gone missing. As a member of Dementia NI, I appreciate the introduction of the Herbert Protocol to support people with dementia. To me, this important initiative means if something was to happen and I was reported missing in the future, I would be supported.”

Cllr Jill Macauley (PCSP Chair), William Stewart PCSP Project Officer), Sgt Barbara McNally (PSNI), Gerard Doran (Dementia N)T/ Superintendent Barney O’Connor (PSNI), Lisa Sherman E District Crime Prevention Officer), Melanie Sheenan (Southern Trust Dementia Service Improvement Lead, Roisin Doyle (Health & Social Care Board, Social Care Lead for Dementia) pictured at the launch of the Joint PCSP & PSNI awareness raising campaign of Herbert protocol - working with people with dementia at risk of going missing.

The Herbert Protocol, launched by the PSNI in partnership with Dementia NI, the Southern Health Trust and local Policing and Community Safety Partnership, enables officers to work quicker to find dementia sufferers who go missing.

It is a public document that can be populated with vital information, such as a recent photograph, contact details, medication required and significant locations relating to the individual. This can then be provided to officers and used to save vital time in a missing person investigation.

This is available, initially, to everyone registered with adult care services, including people living with dementia or similar conditions in the pilot areas of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.

For relatives in a care home, staff should be contacted by a family member to discuss filling in the Herbert Protocol form and it can be included in a care plan.

Families can fill out forms for vulnerable relatives living at home who are at risk of going missing. For relatives at home, the paperwork can be downloaded from the PSNI’s website and stored at home.

Lisa Sherman, Crime Prevention Officer, said: “Every minute is crucial in tracing older missing people with complex vulnerabilities, including dementia and so having this information readily available could be very helpful to the police. This scheme can provide families with peace of mind knowing that they are prepared.

A Southern Health Trust spokesperson said: “The Trust supports the Herbert Protocol in partnership with the PSNI and Dementia NI. This is an important initiative in supporting people living with Dementia (and their carers) - reducing time spent gathering crucial information if a person goes missing. We will continue to work alongside the PSNI and Dementia NI to roll out the protocol within the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.”

Hazel Haworth, Dementia NI Empowerment Officer, said: “Dementia NI greatly values our partnership with the PSNI who consulted our members, all of whom are living with dementia, when creating the protocol. This practical initiative is part of making NI a better place for people with dementia and their families and carers to live.”

If you are living in the Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon areas you can find out more information on the scheme and download the form here: www.psni.police.uk/herbertprotocol

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