The Care Quality Commission is to undertake unannounced inspections of 150 care homes and hospitals to review the care of people with dementia in England.
The news comes on the day the prime minister is hosting a G8 summit in London to develop an international plan to combat the condition.
CQC chief executive David Behan said it will be the first time the regulator has specifically reviewed care services for people with dementia. He said the CQC’s findings would create a national picture of “what works well and where improvements are required”.
The review will focus on how people with dementia are helped to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing, how avoidable hospital admissions can be reduced via effective care, and how people with dementia are supported as they move between services.
The inspections, which will all be unannounced, will occur in 22 local authority areas which have not yet been named. They will begin this month and will be completed by February 2014, with the CQC publishing a national report on its findings in May.
The CQC will also publish a report for each individual inspection. If services are found to be inadequate they will be subject to the regulator’s normal enforcement procedures.
The size and composition of the inspection teams will vary according to the service being inspected, but a CQC spokesman confirmed they hoped to have “experts by experience” – individuals with personal experience of services as patients or carers – on the majority of teams.
As well as joining inspection teams, the CQC has said it wants patients and carers to help inform its national report by sharing their experiences. It has invited submissions on its website and via a number of charitable partners, including Age UK.
It is estimated that 670,000 people in England have dementia, with the number expected to double over the next three decades.
Alzheimer’s Disease International says 44 million people worldwide live with the disease, with the figure set to increase to 135 million by 2050.