Free webinar will educate Irish community on initiative that supports dementia sufferers who go 'missing'
Life & Style

Free webinar will educate Irish community on initiative that supports dementia sufferers who go 'missing'

A WEBINAIR taking place this week will give an overview of the Herbert Protocol and how it applies to people with dementia.

Organised by Irish in Britain’s (IIB) Cuimhne project, the session is designed to ensure the Irish community is aware of the Herbert Protocol – a scheme adopted by several police forces in England and Wales to help if a person with dementia goes missing.

The Protocol involves a simple form that assists when a person with dementia or with support needs gets lost or goes missing.

The form, completed by family carers, contains valuable information about the person to be passed to the police if the person goes missing.

“Because of the older age profile of the Irish community in Britain, there are significant numbers of people with dementia,” an IIB spokesperson explained.

“The majority are cared for in their own homes or the homes of their family,” they added.

“Families try very hard to enable the person remains independent, active and connected to their community and occasionally people with dementia get lost even in very familiar places.

“This is not only stressful for the family but is distressing for the person who finds themselves in a strange place or can’t find their way home.

“Their dementia may also make them unable to ask for help. “

Delay in reporting or initiating a search for a missing person has an impact on finding the person before their health deteriorates – so having a completed a Herbert Protocol is invaluable to police or rescue services in getting a search under way swiftly.

It can also reduce stress for family carers struggling to recall information in an emergency.

“People with dementia generally have problems with short-term memory and therefore rely very heavily on memories from the past and engage with an earlier period in their lives,” the IIB explains.

“They do not as such go ‘wandering’, but instead their goal is to visit a person or place they were once familiar with.”

Apart from biographical details, the form requires information on past addresses, workplaces, buses used or conversations or events that might have motivated the person to go somewhere.

The form is completed by family or somebody who knows the person well and is retained in a safe place to be used in an emergency.

The IIB webinar will include guests from the Metropolitan Police.

Bernadette Gay, one of the forces 12 Missing Person Coordinators, will highlight the value of the Protocol in locating a missing person quickly and safely.

It will include the personal and professional perspectives of a carer who is also a police officer, Abid Raja.

The reasons behind some of the “unusual” information required in the protocol will be explained Dr Mary Tilki and there will be an opportunity for questions.

The webinar is free and open to all to attend, for tickets click here.