Dementia and the Herbert Protocol
People with dementia can sometimes start to wander. This might only be into the garden or street for a short time, but sometimes people get lost and go missing.
The carers, family or friends of a vulnerable person, or the person themselves, can fill in a Herbert Protocol Form in advance and will contain lots of useful information in the event that they go missing at some point. Keeping a completed form means you do not have to try to remember the information when you are under stress at the time someone goes missing – and it saves time too so we can get on with starting to search sooner.
You are welcome to use the Herbert Protocol Form that can be downloaded here:
Help and Guidance
Note: If you would like to discuss this form in more or receive further dementia guidance contact your local dementia support service team on 01733 865710.
Filling in the form – When
● Use your professional opinion as a carer or your knowledge as a family member to decide whether a person is at risk of going missing.
For example, you might decide it is time to fill in a form when someone cannot remember their address themselves.
Filling in the form – Who
● A carer at a care home, family, friends or the person themselves can fill in the form.
● Please get permission from the person at risk or their relatives before you complete a form.
If that is not possible, a care home can fill in a form if they think it is in the person’s best interests.
● Filling in the form with the person can trigger memories that they like to talk about, and can enrich your time with them.
Be mindful though as some memories might be upsetting.
What to do with the form – Keep it Safe
● You can fill in this form on your computer or print it out and fill it in by hand.
Keep it somewhere safe where you can easily find it if the person goes missing. You could give a copy to friends, family and neighbours.
● You only need to give it to the police if the person goes missing.
The police will ask you extra questions about what happened around the time of the disappearance and what the missing person was wearing.
● Care homes must store the form legally in accordance with data protection laws.
● Make sure you keep the form up to date if something changes, for example their medication or their daily routine changes.
● If you do discover someone is missing, look for them around the house or home, including any gardens and outbuildings.
● If you cannot find them call 999 and do not worry – you will not be criticised for calling the police if worried about a persons safety.
● When you call, say that you have a Herbert Protocol Form available.
If you have an electronic version of the form ask for an email address so you can e-mail the form to them.
If you have a paper copy, have it ready for the police when they arrive.