Problematic Behavior Or Activity
A 60-year-old citizen with a dementia diagnosis repeatedly called 911 for non-emergency incidents. For example, calls were made when the care provider did not make lunch, or when the caregiver was not at the house to administer medication.
Police, Fire, and medical personnel would respond to the citizen’s apartment a few times a week. Dispatchers were fielding several calls a week, tying up their system.
We identified a single police point of contact for every call. We worked with the local fire department, a family member (who was also the caregiver at that time), apartment managers, and Northwest Disability Services (NWDS). This became a collaborative effort to educate the citizen when to call and when not to call 911. Additionally, NWDS worked diligently to find a care home where around-the-clock care could be provided.
No additional funds or grants were needed or sought.
Calls decreased after the designated point of contact helped the citizen better understand when to and when not to call 911. The repeated contact by the police point of contact and NWDS eventually reduced the number of 911 calls to approximately one every other week. After a few months of searching, NWDS was able to located new housing and round-the-clock care for the citizen.
Designating a single police point of contact is important, as well as ensuring open and frequent communication between community partners to facilitate a consistent message and follow-through.