Co-op scheme to help people with dementia


From Devon & Cornwall Police:

A joint partnership scheme has been launched across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, in collaboration with the Co-Operative stores, to help provide police and partner agencies with vital information when they are searching for missing people living with dementia.

From Friday 3 July 2020, Herbert Protocol forms can be collected from any of the 42 Co-Operative stores across the county.

The Herbert Protocol form allows carers and family members to record personal information such as special places, people, life events etc. relevant to the person living with dementia.  Once completed, the form is kept at the person’s home address and then passed to police and other agencies if they go missing.  The form provides essential information which can help to find the person and saves time during the search.

People who do not live near, or have access to a Co-Operative store will be able to collect a form from their local council offices and community centres (where open).

The Herbert Protocol project has been running successfully across the county for the past four years, with many care homes already having a protocol in place for residents living with dementia.  The partnership with the Co-Operative stores is the next stage in the scheme.  Other agencies involved include the Admiral Nurse Service, the West Cornwall Search and Rescue Team and Cornwall Council.

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It is estimated there are over 7,000 carers looking after people with a dementia diagnosis who may need access to the form.

Vashti Pearce, Specialist Problem Solver from Devon & Cornwall Police, said: “It is important to ensure we have all the right procedures in place for people who are suffering with dementia and this scheme with the Co-Operative will help us achieve this.

“We know there are many people living with dementia and are being cared for by family members or private carers and therefore will not have completed a Herbert Protocol form. By working with the Co-Operative, carers can pick up a form whilst doing routine chores and without making any additional journeys.  We are delighted to work in this innovative partnership with the Co–Operative and hope that it can be expanded across our force area in due course.

“Having a Herbert Protocol form completed and kept at home is a massive help to police officers, partner agencies, carers and family members when they are searching for missing people.”

Shirley Palmer, Co-Operative Field Risk Support Officer, said: “Co-Op is committed to bringing people together, making communities healthier and happier places for people to work, play, live and learn.  With our stores at the heart of local life we are pleased to be able to support this scheme – by co-operating and working together we really can make a difference to carers and family members when they are searching for a missing loved one who is living with dementia.”

Caroline Ellis, clinical lead for the Admiral Nurse Service hosted by Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust, in partnership with Dementia UK and Queens Nurse, said: “The Admiral Nurse Service is delighted to be working collaboratively on this project as it has provided an opportunity to raise awareness of the Herbert Protocol to families and carers who look after someone who has a diagnosis of dementia.  Being able to collect the Herbert Protocol form from their local Co-Operative store is so important as not only will it make vital information accessible to families, but it is likely to increase social interaction, promote independence and reduce social isolation, all of which will have a positive impact on carers mental health and wellbeing.”

Mark Grantham, Search Manager, West Cornwall Search and Rescue Team, said: “From a search planning point of view, information is key, allowing us to focus our initial search to higher priority areas.  At such a distressing time it can be hard for friends and family to recall events from 40, 50 or even 60 years ago, but it’s just this detail that will allow us to locate their loved ones more quickly.  In the hands of the police or search teams, the Herbert Protocol is then a life-saving tool.”

Vanessa Luckwell, Community Link Officer, from Cornwall Council, said: “People with dementia are living in all communities across Cornwall and it is important that they and their families and carers are supported, in as many ways as possible.  This fantastic project is pretty simple, but can be a really useful tool to help families and individuals in a time of crisis.  It has been developed through a strong partnership of people who decided to get it out into communities, despite the challenges that Covid-19 creates.”

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