Care Home Safeguarding Rules & Regulations
Care homes are places that provide a place for vulnerable adults to receive full-time care and assistance. Care home employees work with vulnerable adults on a daily basis, which means that the role must take into account safeguarding rules.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) oversees the safety and performance of care homes in the UK. Back in 2017, they released a report saying that around 25% of care homes in the UK are unsafe.
The report highlighted that care homes and residential nursing homes across the country are failing in the level of care they provide and safeguarding measures are often inadequate.
Since the report, care homes are under pressure to ensure that the level of care is improved and that vulnerable adults are safeguarded properly.
DBS Checks are a critical part of the safeguarding rules for care homes in the UK. In this article, we’ll look at the safeguarding rules and regulations in more detail and how they can be met by care home managers.
The CQC rules and regulations for care homes in the UK
The CQC carefully oversees adult care services and ensures that the level is sufficient to provide safe and quality care.
The CQC regulations include measures to ensure:
- Quality of care – people receiving care must be treated safely in an environment that protects them from harm
- Safe recruitment – care home employees must be suitable for the role. Therefore, care homes must have robust recruitment processes and procedures, including DBS Checks.
Therefore, it is essential that care home managers have clearly defined safeguarding and recruitment procedures in place at all times.
DBS Check requirements for care home workers
DBS Checks are intended to verify that individuals don’t have convictions on their record that may pose a risk to vulnerable adults or children.
Therefore, any healthcare or social care establishments and providers that are registered with the CQC must request DBS Checks from any staff that they recruit and keep the checks updated regularly.
Voluntary workers that come in to help out at a care home may also need DBS Checks and may be eligible for a free Volunteer DBS Check.
What level of DBS Check are care home staff eligible for?
Most care home workers will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check as they are carrying out care duties with vulnerable adults in an unsupervised capacity and on a frequent basis.
An Enhanced DBS Check searches a person’s criminal record for unspent and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and warnings, as well as revealing any relevant notes and details held on local police records.
If the role carried out by the care home worker is designated as a ‘regulated activity’, then they will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with an adult’s barred list check too.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) defines a vulnerable adult as an individual aged 18 years or older who needs community care services due to a mental or physical disability or are incapicitated due to age or illness. The person must be physically or mentally unable to take care of themself or they are vulnerable to exploitation or harm at the hands of others.
Using this definition of a vulnerable adult, most care home residents will fall into this category. The staff at a care home are therefore in daily contact with vulnerable adults, in care providing roles, which means that it will be classed as a regulated activity.
What roles are considered as a regulated activity?
A role is considered to be a regulated activity if one or more of the following is true and the role:
- Is a regulated healthcare role that involves providing direct healthcare assistance or supervision to an adult
- Provides personal care-related assistance to an adult including help with everyday activities such as eating, drinking, washing, and dressing, or the role involves prompting adults to do these tasks
- Is a social care role to help adults with living in the community
- Involves helping a vulnerable adult with shopping, paying bills, or any other financial activity
- Assists an adult with day-to-day affairs by appointment
- Involves transporting vulnerable adults between healthcare establishments.
Care home staff roles that don’t cover any of the above activities are not likely to be classed as regulated activities and will not need a barred list check, which includes roles such as administrative staff and cleaners.
Summary of care home safeguarding rules and regulations
Care homes are governed by the rules and regulations set out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
All care homes in the UK need to be registered with the CQC. The CQC states that safeguarding policies and safe recruiting practices need to be in place to protect vulnerable adults in care settings.
DBS Checks are a part of the requirements, and most care home workers will need to get an Enhanced DBS Check with adult’s barred list check.
If you would like to find out more about DBS Checks, including how to use our online service to get the results more quickly than by post, then get in touch today.