Care Home Testing Guidance

In this section

Due to the higher risk nature of health and social care settings, the government advice is that regular testing needs to continue in order to protect residents and staff.

Adult social care staff are also still required to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19.

Testing helpdesk for Care Homes

For testing support and advice, call 119 to talk to an advisor from the testing helpdesk. Open 7 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week. The 119 team will be able to schedule emergency couriers if your booked courier does not arrive to collect your test kits, give you updates on your test kit orders, support with any eligibility or ordering issues, and request additional instruction booklets and return boxes over the phone.

Ordering tests

Order COVID-19 tests

You can order new tests kits on the website. You will need to know your Unique Organisation Number (UON).

Order tests

Unique Organisation Numbers for all care homes: All care homes should have a Unique Organisation Number (UON).  You will need your UON to access services across all care home coronavirus testing programme portals.

Care homes are able to bulk register tests through the Government website. Please read the Guidance on how to complete the bulk registration process.

You can book a courier to collect completed kits through the Courier Collection Service. If your booked courier does not arrive to collect your test kits, you should contact 119 to arrange an emergency courier the following morning. 

Testing for Care Home staff & residents

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings.

Asymptomatic staff should be tested daily with LFD. 

Asymptomatic residents should be tested monthly with PCR.

Staff with symptoms should not attend the care home and should access community PCR testing.

Residents with symptoms should be isolated and tested with PCR immediately. If possible, also test with LFD however do not rely on a negative LFD result to end isolation.

Retesting within 90 days of a positive COVID-19 test result (PCR or LFD)

Asymptomatic staff and residents who do not have severe immunosuppression, and who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 by LFD or PCR test should be exempt from routine testing by PCR within 90 days from their initial illness onset or test date. This does not apply if they develop new COVID-19 symptoms. 

If a staff member has returned to work after testing positive for COVID-19, they should resume routine LFD testing, even if this is within 90 days of the positive COVID-19 test result. If staff or residents are tested with an LFD test within 90 days of a prior positive LFD or PCR test and the result is positive, they should start a new period of self-isolation, unless a clinical or risk assessment suggests that a re-infection is unlikely. This risk assessment should inform subsequent action including whether isolation is required.

Testing for professional visitors

Testing for professionals visiting care homes – GOV.UK

Given the risks, the default position is that a visiting professional should not be allowed entry to a care home without proof of a negative test within the last 72 hours – demonstrating they are following the testing regime for NHS staff.

In emergency visits such as a 999 response, it is not appropriate to ask for or provide proof before entry to a care home, given the potential delay this could cause and the implications for prompt management of the emergency situation. Further guidance is given below. However, all NHS professionals visiting care homes must follow the NHS testing regime and be testing twice a week. 

Testing for social visitors

Guidance on care home visiting – GOV.UK

Visitors should receive a negative LFD result and report it on the day of their visit, either by conducting the test at home or when they arrive at the care home – essential care givers must be supported to follow the same testing arrangements as care home staff.

Testing onsite at the care home is preferable for assurance purposes. 

Test tutorial for care homes

Watch a video on how to administer nasal and throat swabs for residents:

Reporting testing

Report the result of every LFD test, even if it is negative or void. You can register LFDs individually, or register them using the multiple upload spreadsheet.

Reporting positive test results

LCRC – even a single case

Sutton Online COVID-19 testing results form

All Care Homes must complete the Sutton Online COVID-19 testing results form every time they test residents, as part of regular testing and on receipt of every positive result. This will help us to:

  • Provide timely advice on any infections or outbreaks
Sutton Online COVID-19 testing results

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Page last updated on April 6th, 2022 at 11:59am

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