A Guide to DBS Checks for Hospice Staff
Hospice workers, both paid employees and volunteers, need to get a DBS Check carried out to make sure that they are responsible enough to care for vulnerable people.
The role of hospice workers often involves close, direct contact with critically and terminally ill people, who are considered vulnerable due to their condition and state of mind. Hospice workers will also come into contact with family members and friends of the ill residents, who may be in vulnerable positions themselves.
In this brief guide, we’ll look at the DBS Check requirements for hospice workers to ensure that safeguarding principles are met.
Which Hospice Job Roles Require A DBS Check?
It may not be entirely obvious which roles need a DBS Check and which don’t in a hospice. It should be noted that the advice given below applies to both paid staff and volunteers.
The level of the DBS Check required (basic, standard, or enhanced) depends on the responsibilities and requirements of the role in question.
Enhanced DBS Checks for Hospice Staff
The first thing to note is that any role classed as a ‘regulated activity’ will require an Enhanced DBS Check with barred list check, which is the highest possible level of DBS Check.
A regulated activity is defined as a role that involves working directly with children or vulnerable adults in an unsupervised capacity on three or more occasions within a 30-day period. This will apply to anybody working at a hospice who is involved in healthcare provision to vulnerable adults, such as nurses and healthcare assistants.
The Enhanced DBS Check searches through the hospice workers’s criminal record and reveals any spent or unspent convictions, unfiltered cautions, warnings, or reprimands, as well as any police notes that are relevant to the role. A barred list check cross references the applicant’s name and details against a database of people that are barred from working with vulnerable adults.
All healthcare workers working in a hospice are likely to need an Enhanced DBS Check and barred list check. But what about hospice staff that are not involved in a healthcare role?
The answer is that they may still need an Enhanced DBS Check with a children’s or adult’s barred list check, if the role is deemed to be a regulated activity. Any role within a hospice that involves contact with children or vulnerable adults in an unsupervised capacity on three or more days in a 30-day period (or once per week).
An example of a non-healthcare hospice worker role that may require an Enhanced DBS Check are cleaners that go into private rooms to clean the area. Also, anybody that supervises children or vulnerable adults, such as volunteers, will need an Enhanced DBS Check too.
Standard DBS Checks for Hospice Staff
Standard DBS Checks may be appropriate for some roles within a hospice. The role in question must not involve a ‘regulated activity’, i.e. the role doesn’t involve working directly and unsupervised with children or vulnerable adults.
Examples of hospice job roles that may require a Standard DBS Check rather than an Enhanced DBS Check are:
- Maintenance staff
- Shop workers
- Administration staff
- Catering staff
If you want to find out more about the official government guidance on regulated activities, check out these links: working with vulnerable adults and working with children.
You can find out more about the government’s guidance on regulated activity for children here, and on regulated activity for adults here.
Basic DBS Checks for Hospice Staff
A Basic DBS Check is the lowest level of criminal background check in the UK, that reveals only unspent convictions and conditional cautions. For this reason, it is only used for roles that don’t involve healthcare or direct supervision of children and vulnerable adults.
The hospice managers need to decide which roles within the hospice are suitable for a Basic DBS Check. Typical roles include maintenance staff, kitchen staff, gardeners, and others that don’t have direct supervision or care duties with residents of the hospice. The amount of contact they have with residents is the deciding factor on whether a Standard or Basic DBS Check would be more appropriate.
It should be noted that Basic DBS Checks are not a legal requirement and can be applied for by the individual themselves, in other words the application does not need to be submitted by the employer.
Summary of DBS Checks for Hospice Workers
Hospices across the UK have recently been inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and they found that the vast majority of hospice care facilities are outstanding, which is the highest possible rating.
Safeguarding plays a big factor in awarding an outstanding rating and DBS Checks are an important part of safeguarding policy. Therefore, it is vital that hospice care facilities follow all the guidelines when it comes to DBS Checks for hospice staff.
Enhanced DBS Checks with a barred list check are needed for regulated activities, and most of the healthcare duties within a hospice will fall under that category.
All other roles may require either a Standard or Basic DBS Check, depending on the responsibility level of the job.
To find out more about DBS Checks for hospice workers, or to ask any other questions related to DBS Checks, get in touch today.