Coronavirus (COVID-19): admission and care of people in care homes

How to protect care home residents and staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Applies to England



This guidance is for care homes, local health protection teams, local authorities, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and registered providers of accommodation for people who need personal or nursing care.

It sets out how to:

  • admit and care for residents safely
  • protect care home staff
Published 2 April 2020
Last updated 17 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Admission and care of residents in a care home during COVID-19' to reflect the change in guidance on 16 August that you no longer have to self-isolate after confirmed close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated or under 18.

  2. Guidance has been updated to clarify that where a resident is being admitted from another care home or care facility, care home managers should undertake a risk assessment to determine whether self-isolation is required.

  3. Updated to clarify that admissions into a care home from the community are able to take a test up to 72 hours in advance.

  4. Guidance has been updated to include VOC-21APR-02 [Delta variant] as a variant of concern.

  5. ‘Admission and care of people in care homes’ has been updated throughout and a document has been added to summarise the changes. This update provides new information on visiting policy for residents attending medical appointments out of care homes, the role of essential care givers during a resident’s isolation period and the removal of the requirement for new residents from the community to isolate for 14 days upon admission into the care home provided they satisfy the criteria set out in guidance.

  6. Updated to reflect the change in procedure of reporting COVID-19 cases and outbreak management in care homes.

  7. Updated to add a call-out about the new COVID-19 variant of concern.

  8. Added link to what you can and cannot do from 29 March 2021.

  9. Removed PDF version of the guidance.

  10. Updated sections on 'Testing staff and residents in care homes' in reference to staff testing and special arrangements for people who work in the NHS, Annex B on the definition of 'contacts' and Annex F to reflect the extension of free PPE until the end of June 2021.

  11. Updated 'Annex F: provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE)' to reflect current policy for how providers should access PPE.

  12. Addition of link to guidance on designated settings for people discharged to a care home.

  13. Updated guidance to reflect the 10-day self-isolation period changes for staff, in line with national guidance changes.

  14. Updated to include relevant links to the guidance on the local restriction tier system that will be in place in England from 2 December.

  15. Updated to include relevant links to the guidance on the local restriction tier system that will be in place in England from 2 December.

  16. Added note that this guidance will be updated soon and directed users to guidance updated ahead of the 5 November national lockdown.

  17. Added a new section on how care homes can support the NHS Test and Trace service.

  18. Updated links to hospital discharge service guidance.

  19. Added a new section on testing people moving from the community into a care home (Annex K).

  20. Changed to reflect that self-isolation period for people with symptoms of coronavirus has changed from 7 days to 10 days, and added link to recent updated guidance on visiting care homes during coronavirus.

  21. This document has been updated throughout in line with the care homes support package announced on 15 May and the latest advice on testing, and infection prevention and control. The changes are set out in full in the document.

  22. Updated the guidance to add a loss of, or change in, normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia) as a symptom of coronavirus. The changes are in Section 2, Annex A and Annex B.

  23. Added a note to say that the guidance is being reviewed following publication of the COVID-19 adult social care action plan.

  24. First published.