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Missing Person Policy

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On admission and throughout their stay inpatients are advised to inform staff if they wish to leave the Ward/Unit.

Patients are assessed as to the level of risk associated with leaving the ward without permission and the actions required.

Bowers et al (1999) prospective study has shown ‘that patients abscond for various reasons, including boredom, frightened of other patients, have household responsibilities, feel isolated, or worried about the security of their home. In those patients that absconded, although psychiatric symptoms contributed to the decision to leave, the patient was able to give additional and rational reasons for absconding.

All occurrences of a patient going missing, absent without leave or not returning from leave (other than for short periods where there appears to have been no significant risk involved, e.g. just slightly late returning from leave) must be reported in line with the Trust “Reporting and Management of Adverse Events” in addition to the further requirements of this policy. The initial adverse event report form and/or adverse event continuation form must include the outcome of a local review of what happened, how and why it happened and what action has subsequently been taken. This should include reference to events leading up to person going missing including whether or not any special observation level was considered. This will ensure the Trust Risk Management Team are aware of all incidents and that these are entered onto the Safeguard database to facilitate monitoring the frequency of such event and that learning the lessons from them is disseminated.

Any instances of detained patients going missing must be reported to the Care Quality commission in line with the MHA policy


Link to the full Policy:

Missing Person Policy


Link to the Equalites Impact Analysis:

Missing Person Policy & SOP - EIA


Link to the Standard Operating Procedures:

Missing Person SOP

Service User Identification SOP