Care Home Testing Guidance

In this section

Currently, care homes have access to regular whole home testing for all residents and all asymptomatic staff. Please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested page for further Care Home Guidance.

Testing helpdesk for Care Homes

For testing support and advice, call 119 to talk to an advisor from the NHS Test and Trace 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.

Testing visitors to care homes

The following consent form can be used to by Care Homes to gain consent from any visitors requiring to have an LFD test – Consent form for testingDownload

If you have any questions are require any further information, please email 

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.

Weekend testing: Increasing weekend testing is key to ongoing efforts to increase the national capacity for coronavirus testing. You can commit to weekend testing when you place an order for your next cycle of test kits on the website.

Bulk registration of tests: Care homes are able to bulk register tests through the Government website. This will speed up the registration process and alleviate the administrative burden on care homes as tests will no longer have to be registered individually.  Please read the Guidance on how to complete the bulk registration process and see the DHSC’s regular webinar.

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. 

Please contact the Care Home Support Team for any help with swabbing, booking test kits, escalating concerns and providing results.

Testing for Care Home staff & residents

Care Home COVID-19 Testing Guidance provides guidance for regular resident testing using PCR, and regular staff testing using PCR and LFD.

90 day guidance and outbreak testing policy for care homes

Following a substantial clinical review of the latest evidence and testing data, DHSC is changing the advice for retesting within 90 days of a positive COVID test in care homes. From now on, if someone tests positive with a PCR test, they should not be tested using PCR or LFD for 90 days, unless they develop new symptoms during this time, in which case they should be retested immediately using PCR. This 90-day period is from the initial onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic when tested, their positive test result.  The attached letter sets out these changes, and includes links to revised guidance.

Testing for visitors

For the latest information please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) lateral flow testing of visitors in care homes

Test tutorial for care homes

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

Discharge of people who have had a positive COVID-19 test result

Please see attached the care home testing newsletter that was sent to all care homes in England on 31 December 2020. The newsletter answers some of the frequently asked questions from recent webinars.

Reporting testing

Updated How to protect care home residents and staff during the coronavirus outbreak Guidance. Change made: Updated to reflect the change in procedure of reporting COVID-19 cases and outbreak management in care homes.Please see Coronavirus (COVID-19): admission and care of people in care homes

Sutton Online COVID-19 testing results

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

  • Support homes with regular testing
  • Provide timely advice on any infections or outbreaks
  • Mitigate issues in accessing testing
Sutton Online COVID-19 testing results

Page last updated on June 7th, 2021 at 9:50am

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