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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness





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Dementia Care Audit Tool (DCAT)

What is DCAT?


The Dementia Care Audit Tool (DCAT) is a new tool which was pre-piloted in 2013. The tool aims to provide a measure of the care provided to people with dementia living in a care home setting. The tool was designed for care homes of all kinds – residential, nursing, specialist, non specialist, organisationally run, stand alone – and in all sectors – not-for profit, for profit, charity and local authority. A two-part audit tool was developed for the pre-pilot stage, which covered organisational factors necessary for the provision of good quality care, as well as the information that is held about the resident with dementia and how this is used.


The project team developed a set of standards that reflect best practice, focusing on:


  • Involvement of residents and carers/ relatives;
  • Collection and use of personal information about the resident;
  • Activity and participation;
  • Choice;
  • Staff training and support;
  • Policies and procedures

These standards guided the development of the audit tools, which were tested in nine pre-pilot sites. The audit measurements relate to the NICE Quality Standard for supporting people to live well with dementia so that participating homes will have evidence about their achievement against statements of quality.


Data were collated, analysed and a report produced for the participating pre-pilot sites. This  allowed for comparison and aimed to support them to identify areas for improvement within their service, when caring for people with dementia. We also collected feedback on the pre-pilot tool from the care homes that took part. 


A briefing document was produced, which provided recommendations about the use of the tool in the full pilot and any amendments required, including a ‘next steps’ section regarding the future development of any additional measurements required. This report included the experiences of the pre-pilot sites as well as feedback from key stakeholders.


The wider pilot of DCAT was launched in 2014 and was carried out by HQIP in partnership with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). See the website for further information.



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Dementia Care Audit Tool – Pre-pilot

2nd Floor, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB

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We would like to acknowledge the help and support of the care homes who kindly volunteered to participate in the pre-pilot of the Dementia Care Audit Tool: