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Dementia scheme backed in Burnley

burnley town hall

Published by Laura Pratt at 9:16am 13th March 2019

A scheme that helps find missing people with dementia is being backed in Burnley.

The Herbert Protocol uses an information database that holds vital information that can help find a missing person.

Search and rescue teams can use it to pinpoint likely area for investigation, to reduce the amount of time it takes to find someone and increase the chancesof them being found safe and well.

The council is working with Lancashire Police and other partners to promote the scheme.

Councillor Margaret Lishman, which is chair of the Burnley Dementia Action Alliance, said:

"This is a simple but effective scheme that can help save lives.

"Unfortunately it's not uncommon for someone with dementia to wander off and become lost and confused.

"When anyone goes missing, but especially someone who is as vulnerable as a person with dementia, time is of the essence.

"The quicker they can be found the better. Being able to provide the police and search teams with information that can lead to them being found safe and well is vital".

A special scrutiny committee was formed by councillors to look at the range of services available to dementia patients in Burnley borough.

The councillors decided to concentrate on the Herbert Protocol and how the council could support it being rolled out to organisations across the borough.

Its chairman Councillor Andy Tatchell said:

"I'm delighted the council is helping to support this initiative and spread the message so that others can get involved. It's a simple but effective way of reducing the risk of someone coming to harm."

There are currently more than 1,200 people diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or another dementia-related illness in the borough.

The Herbert Protocol involves filling in a form that contains important information that can be used if a person goes missing, such as personal details, appearance, location of family and friends, favourite places, address history and access to transport.

Family members keep the form until it is required, when it can be passed to the police to help in any search and rescue operation.

A report to the council's executive, which meets on 20th March, recommends it supports the Herbert Protocol scheme and develops opportunities to work with partners to maximise take-up in the borough.

The council already promotes work done to support Burnley's Dementia Friendly status, including training for staff, help for the borough's Dementia Action Alliance, and promoting event and activities aimed at raising awareness.

Recent renovation work at Thompson Park included the refurbishment of the café in a way that makes it "dementia friendly".

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