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Police measures to stop care home patients going missing

By Lynsey Bradford, Town Reporter Friday 30th May 2014

NEW measures are being introduced by South Yorkshire Police to help prevent people from going missing from care homes.

An agreement with registered care providers called 'Herbert Protocol' is being implemented.

Jim Sheard, the force's mental health co-ordinator, said it was a new way of getting residential care homes to identify residents who may be at risk of going missing.

"At the moment, there is no standardised document held by care homes and, as a result, they will all have different ways of working and will hold different information about the vulnerable people in their care.

"However, under the new protocol, one standardised document will be introduced to ensure a consistent and joined-up approach.
"This means that, if somebody does go missing, police will easily be able to access vital information to enable them to find that person, safe and well, as quickly as possible."

The document contains descriptions, medication details, their hobbies and pastimes, details about nearby bus stops and information about if they have gone missing before.

Care homes will also be able to develop relationships with nearby pubs, restaurants, shops and businesses so they can be called if a resident goes missing.

Mr Sheard added: "The protocol is entirely voluntary, but we hope that care homes across the county will sign up to it when we begin rolling out the scheme at the end of this month.

"The Herbert Protocol has already been a great success in other force areas, including in Norfolk, and we hope that it can bring the same benefits for vulnerable and elderly residents in South Yorkshire.

"While many care homes already have some excellent working practises in place, by introducing a standardised scheme we hope to be able to find missing people more quickly and effectively."

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