A comprehensive audit of dementia care in hospitals in England and Wales is to commence this week with a view to developing a quality mark for dementia care.
The audit, conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and funded by the Department of Health, will look at areas such as discharge planning, involvement of carers, staff training and antipsychotic prescription.
Over 90% of primary care trusts are taking part in the project, which will take place over the summer and report in December 2011.
All hospitals taking part will be quizzed on their care provision and a smaller sample will be subject to an inspection of their environments and interaction with patients will be observed.
Auditors will also collect information from carers, patients and staff on their experiences.
The audit follows a report by the National Audit Office which highlighted a lack of progress on the government’s strategy to improve dementia care in its first year.
The quality mark developed following the audit will be open to all hospitals who, if signed up to the scheme, will need to submit data on patient experiences on a regular basis.
Professor Peter Crome, chair of the audit’s steering group, said: “By measuring current services for dementia patients in acute hospitals and identifying best practice, a clear programme for staff training and organisational change can be implemented and monitored.”
Poor quality care in hospital has previously been shown to put additional burdens on social care services and carers. Last year the Alzheimer’s Society found over half of carers felt the dementia sufferer they cared for became more dependent after a stay in hospital.