At Dementia NI we're proud to have launched a very special initiative which will help people in Northern Ireland who are living with dementia to maintain their independence for longer and stay as safe as possible.
In partnership with Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Police, the Policing and Community Safety Partnerships and the Health and Social Care Board, we've brought the Herbert Protocol to Northern Ireland!
The Herbert Protocol is an initiative that encourages individuals with dementia, family members, friends and carers to complete a form recording vital details about the person with dementia. The form then assists police to locate the person quickly should they go missing.
The initiative originated in Norfolk and takes its name after Normandy landings veteran George Herbert, who lived with dementia and died in 2011, after he went missing while looking for his childhood home.
We’re proud of our members who worked closely with the PSNI to give vital feedback on what information should be included in the form - for example, details of places the person with dementia may like to visit and where they used to live and work.
The Herbert Protocol is now being piloted in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon with plans for further rollout across Northern Ireland in May 2022. If you live in one of these pilot areas and live with dementia or know someone who does, please download the online form, fill it in and keep it safe for when it might be needed. You can find the form on the PSNI website: https://bit.ly/3abBNBh
Dementia NI member Gerard Doran, from Craigavon, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease in October 2020, says, “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.
"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.”
Our Empowerment Officer Hazel Haworth adds, "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.”
PSNI Crime Prevention Officer Lisa Sherman says, "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.
"We are pleased to be working with partner agencies on the roll out of this pilot initiative and we would encourage families in the local areas to use this form so that it can be provided to the police should the need arise.
"This scheme can provide families with peace of mind knowing that they are prepared should they need to report a loved one missing.
"Experience of this protocol in other parts of the UK has shown that by having this information to hand it will help us to protect vulnerable adults if they go missing."
The introduction of this fantastic initiative shows that practical changes that improve the lives of people living with dementia in NI are well within reach when we all work together!
Thank you to everyone involved.