1. Introduction

In the event of an adult being reported as missing from the service, the procedure below should be followed.

2. Immediate Action

Begin an immediate search of the local area.

Liaise with others in close vicinity (shopkeepers etc.).

Contact staff at the home to inform them of the situation and to check the adult has not made their own way home.

Once it is certain the adult is definitely missing, contact the following:

  • police: use the local number where known. If not, dial 999 and report the service user missing;
  • inform relevant manager/s
  • the service manager should inform the adult’s next of kin / relatives;
  • when the police arrive, give them any written information about the adult;
  • inform the police of possible areas the adult may try to go.

As soon as is practicable, but within 24 hours, the person in charge must inform the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  If the police have been notified, then the CQC form Police involvement in an incident must be completed and sent to CQC.

3. On Return

When the adult returns home ensure all parties involved are informed particularly the police and relatives.

Reassure the adult and ensure they have come to no harm during their absence. Call a GP if necessary.

Complete an accident / incident form and make a note of the incident in the adult’s care and support plan and document the contact with the CQC.

Carry out a full debrief of events and update risk assessments and complete all required documentation.

4. Unauthorised Absences of Persons Detained or Liable to be Detained under the Mental Health Act 1983

Services that are designated as low, medium or high security are required to notify CQC of any unauthorised absence of a person detained or liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, and of the return of persons from unauthorised absences.

Absences are notified using part 1 of the form linked below. Returns from absences are notified using part 2 of the form. Part 2s can be submitted separately from Part 1s where that is needed.

Mental Health Act notification: Absent without leave (AWOL)

Services with no specific security designation are not required to notify CQC about unauthorised absences.