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Herbert protocol & dementia

Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing and is not a disease in its own right. It is an umbrella term that describes the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by certain diseases or conditions that cause the gradual death of brain cells. This leads to progressive cognitive decline.

How fast cognitive decline progresses will vary from person to person and may depend on which type of dementia they have. Symptoms include:

  • loss of memory
  • changes in behaviour and mood
  • problems with communication and reasoning skills.

There are many different types of dementia. The most common are:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • vascular dementia
  • fronto-temporal dementia
  • dementia with Lewy bodies 

The Alzheimer’s Society video explains what dementia is, how it affects the brain and how it might affect a person with the disease.


What is dementia

What is the Herbert Protocol? 

The Herbert Protocol is an initiative by Cheshire Police to support those caring for anyone with dementia that may be at risk of going missing.  

The Herbert Protocol is a form which is kept at home, or in a safe place, with important information about a vulnerable person. It contains questions for carers, family members or friends to complete in advance, recording all vital details, including medication required, mobile numbers, places previously located or attended, a photograph, associates, daily routine etc. 

If a person is reported missing, the police need a lot of information from people who are likely to be in a state of anxiety. Gathering that information takes time and it may not always be accurate, particularly when it relates to historic information which can be important when searching for a person with dementia. 

The Herbert Protocol is designed to collect most of the information in ‘slow time’ – it can then be passed to the police quickly if it is ever needed. It will help the police in their search, saving valuable time and help return them to safety. The form should be kept up to date with a recent photograph of the person that can be passed to the police if needed. 

The police will only ever ask for the form if the person is reported missing.

The initiative is named after George Herbert, a war veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia. He died whilst 'missing', trying to find his childhood home.

Visit the Cheshire Police website where you can find a document to complete that can be handed to officers in the event of your loved one going missing to help ensure they are found swiftly and safely.

Watch the clip The Herbert Protocol below

Cheshire Constabulary

Support and Advice 

Visit the following websites for further information on dementia and support available.

Alzheimer’s Society

Dementia UK

Age UK

Social Care Institute for Excellence