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DBS Checks for Care Homes – A Guide

nurse helping an elderly lady

Due to the nature of the business which a care home undertakes, employees will come into daily contact with elderly patients and vulnerable adults.

Therefore, when recruiting new employees to a care home the person responsible for recruitment needs to undertake a DBS Check on any prospective employee.

If you work in the care sector and you’re curious about DBS Checks for care homes, we’ve put together a guide to help you out…

Can you work in a care home without a DBS?

Care home workers usually come into contact with residents on a daily basis. Because of this, any care home employee should hold a DBS certificate.

Why are DBS Checks important in health and social care? 

Undertaking DBS Checks on care home staff helps ensure the safety of residents. It shows that care homes consider safeguarding a top priority, and helps give residents’ families peace of mind. 

Plus, these checks help employers assess the suitability of job applicants by revealing any past criminal convictions or cautions that might pose a risk in caring roles. By carrying out DBS Checks, health and social care organisations can uphold their duty of care and maintain a secure environment for both staff and those they support.

What level of DBS Check are care workers eligible for? 

All employees working within a care home will automatically need to have an Enhanced DBS Check. This is because staff are likely to be engaging in regulated activity with vulnerable adults.

A vulnerable adult is defined by the government as a person aged 18 or over who:

is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

Regulated activity must be performed once a week or three or more times in a 30-day period.

All healthcare professionals providing personal care would need an Enhanced DBS Check, with a check against the adult barred list also.

The adult barred list is a list of individuals who have been barred from working with vulnerable adults, maintained by the DBS.

Roles that are eligible for a check of the barred list would involve providing personal assistance with or supervising any of the following regulated activities: 

  • Personal care, e.g. help with washing, going to the toilet or eating 
  • Social work
  • Conveying or transporting due to age, illness or disability
  • Cash, shopping or paying bills

What about employees not engaging in regulated activity? 

If you are not providing any form of regulated activities mentioned above within your job role then you would not necessarily be eligible for the adults barred list.

Examples of this would include:

  • Cleaners
  • Administrators
  • Receptionists
  • Maintenance
  • Kitchen staff

Do I need a DBS Check for holistic care? 

Holistic care is a method that promotes whole-body care – not just addressing physical ailments but also spiritual and emotional issues.

It has previously been stated by the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) that the following employees would be eligible for an enhanced DBS Check: 

“Individuals who provide health care to adults, either as a health care professional or under the direction or supervision of a health care professional.”

However, if someone is not a regulated healthcare professional, they would not be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check based on this alone. However, they may qualify if they are providing any type of hands-on personal care.

Does a DBS Check apply to personal care? 

Personal care refers to acts that help to support personal hygiene, toileting and assisting with eating and drinking. Anyone who provides care to a friend or family member through a personal arrangement will not be eligible for an Enhanced Check.

However, if the individual providing care has been referred by a GP or another healthcare professional, or if they’ve enlisted with a care agency such as a childminding agency, this would then make them eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with the relevant barred lists.

How long does a DBS last in care? 

DBS Checks for care homes don’t have a set expiration date. However, employers typically require staff to undergo regular checks to ensure ongoing suitability for their roles. The frequency of these checks depends on organisational policies, regulatory requirements, and the nature of the role. 

Adult First Check option

Employers providing care services for adults in a care home can use a service called Adult First Checks.

This result will be back within 72 working hours of submission.

If the applicant has no match they can work straight away as long as they are always supervised.

If it says wait until the full disclosure comes through, this means the DBS have indicated that you must wait for the full disclosure certificate before making a recruitment decision regarding this applicant.

This just means the check has proved inconclusive and does not necessarily mean that the individual is actually included on the ISA adult list.

However, you must exercise appropriate caution by waiting for the disclosure certificate.

We provide this service for an extra £9 on top of an enhanced disclosure.

However please note that this service is only available to organisations who are eligible to access the DBS’s adult barred list and who have requested a check of the barred list on their DBS application form.

Apply for care home DBS Checks

We hope you found this blog useful. Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. You can apply for a number of DBS Checks through our simple online platform – most checks are completed within 48 hours. Get started now.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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