Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care services

Outlines the COVID-19 testing available for staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care services.

Applies to England

Documents

Care home outbreak testing flowchart: staff and residents

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How to use your rapid lateral flow test

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Step-by-step guide to COVID-19 self-testing: SureScreen 25 pack nose-only test

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[WITHDRAWN] COVID-19 testing available for adult social care in England: a summary

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Details

As freedoms are increased and restrictions removed, testing remains important in the adult social care sector to ensure that robust protections continue for those most vulnerable to COVID-19, alongside other measures such as vaccinations and personal protective equipment.

Testing programmes identify individuals who may unknowingly have the virus, enabling those who test positive to stay away from others and break the chain of transmission. Whilst vaccination offers vital protection from severe disease, no vaccine is 100% effective, and does not prevent transmission to others from those who are infected.

To identify positive cases and continue to monitor the effects and transmission of COVID-19, we must continue to operate a proportionate, adhered to, testing programme, regardless of vaccination status.

We are continuously reviewing our testing strategy for adult social care in light of the latest evidence and prevalence.

Alternative formats

The COVID-19 self-test instructions are also available as an easy read and in other languages.

Give feedback about your test kit or report harm

If anything in your test kit is damaged or missing, do not use it. You can still use the other tests in the pack.

If you’ve been harmed or had a reaction using the test kit, report it as soon as possible.

Find out how to give feedback about your test kit or report harm.

Published 24 March 2021
Last updated 9 May 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added care home outbreak testing flowchart: staff and residents (PDF and HTML versions).

  2. Updated COVID-19 testing in adult social care.

  3. Added COVID-19 testing in adult social care guidance.

  4. Added updated information regarding vaccination and testing. Moved the instructions for use for SureScreen 25 rapid lateral flow tests to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-in-adult-care-homes

  5. Updated COVID-19 testing available for adult social care in England: a summary.

  6. Added information about giving feedback about your test kit or reporting harm.

  7. Removed on-site testing and self-test attachments and added 'Step-by-step guide to COVID-19 self-testing: SureScreen 25 pack nose-only test'.

  8. Added How to use your rapid lateral flow test (PDF and HTML versions).

  9. Updated to reflect policy has now changed regarding self-isolation for fully vaccinated individuals following contact with a COVID-19 positive case. References to lockdown also removed to reflect the easing of national COVID-19 restrictions.

  10. Updated to reflect changes to policy when there is one case of COVID-19 in a care home, rapid lateral flow testing frequency, changes to policy when there are 2 or more cases of COVID-19 in a care home and changes to ending outbreak restrictions, when they can lifted and ongoing testing after this period.

  11. Updated PDF for 'Self-test for ASC services: summary rapid LFT guide'.

  12. Updated 'COVID-19 testing available for adult social care in England: a summary' to reflect that policy for responding to the Delta variant (first identified in India) in care homes has now changed. As has been the case for the Alpha variant (first identified in Kent) cases since May 2021, for outbreaks involving the Delta variant, end of outbreak testing can now be undertaken 14 days (previously 28) after the most recent positive case. All positive cases should be treated as the Delta variant, unless proven otherwise.

  13. Updated 'On-site testing for adult social care services: rapid lateral flow test guide' and 'Self-test for ASC services: summary rapid LFT guide' to clarify how to report missing or damaged components in test kits and how to read results; and to reflect Scotland moving to 119. 'Self-test for adult social care services: detailed rapid lateral flow test guide' also updated to reflect Scotland moving to 119. Updated 'Self-test for ASC services: summary rapid LFT guide' to reflect IHP registration page update.

  14. NHS helpline number for Scotland changed to 119.

  15. Updated 'COVID-19 testing available for adult social care in England: a summary' to reflect a reduction in the time required to determine the end of an outbreak in care homes, that extra care and supported living testing now includes visitors, the testing regime for day care centres has changed, personal assistants testing regime has been removed and universal testing is now offered. Renamed 'Step-by-step guide for ASC staff to self-test using rapid lateral flow tests' to 'Self-test for adult social care services: detailed rapid lateral flow test guide' and 'Rapid lateral flow testing in ASC settings: an overview' to 'Self-test for ASC services: summary rapid LFT guide'.

  16. Updated to add 'Visitors to adult social care settings: reporting rapid lateral flow tests at home' guidance.

  17. Added 'On-site testing for adult social care services: rapid lateral flow test guide', 'Step-by-step guide for ASC staff to self-test using rapid lateral flow tests' and 'Rapid lateral flow testing in ASC settings: an overview' guidance; added 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing: terms and conditions' and 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) self-test for staff, service users and visitors in adult social care settings: privacy notice'; and added links to self-test instructions in alternative formats.

  18. First published.