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COVID-19 testing for home care workers


Who is eligible?

A home care worker employed by a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered domiciliary care organisation; this includes people delivering care and support and those who come into contact with people delivering care and support i.e. office staff and any agency staff.

If a home care agency has not been contacted, and you believe your organisation is eligible, please call 119.



What type of test is recommended?

The Department of Health and Social Care recommends home care workers test routinely using a PCR test.



What is the recommended testing regime?

Home care workers should PCR test once per week. Ideally, a PCR test should be completed on the same day each week between Thursday and Sunday.

A home care worker should be supplied with four PCR test kits, every four weeks.

Ideally, home care workers should continue to test when they are not working in work due to leave or sickness.



How are test kits ordered?

Each home care agency is supplied with a unique organisation number (UON).

The home care manager / suitable representative orders PCR test kits once per month, using the portal, for the required number of staff.

When ordering, please enter zero for the number of residents or non-staff.

Once an order has been placed, the home care agency representative will receive confirmatory email. The home care will receive a second email to advise of the delivery arrangements. 

The portal will tell the home care agency when they are next able to order test.



How do you test?

Home care workers typically complete their PCR swab at home.

The home care agency manager / suitable representative should provide each home care worker with:

  • four test kits
  • the UON for the home care agency
  • information on how to competently complete a PCR test
  • information on how to register the PCR test
  • information on how to return to the PCR, including individual Royal Mail return labels

Home care workers need to take a combined throat and nasal swab.

Each PCR test kit contains instructions on how to complete a PCR test.

There is a poster detailing how to swab and return the test kit. Alternatively, there is a video.

Once completed, the home care worker should register their test kit on-line. They will need to enter the UON of the home care agency, the PCR test kit barcode and personal details.

The PCR test should returned using a Royal Mail Priority post box, as per instructions, on the same day the PCR test was completed.



How are results reported?

A home care worker will receive their results via an email and/or text message, dependent on the personal details submitted.

Home care workers should immediately isolate and inform their home care agency if they test positive for COVID-19.



What are the reporting requirements?

Home care agencies are required to report COVID-19 cases to Public Health England.

Home care agencies should regularly update the Capacity Tracker, including if there are positive COVID-19 cases in their service (Staff or users).

Home care agencies do not need to notify CQC of individual positive COVID-19 cases in their service, but should notify CQC if COVID-19 affects the day to day running of their services.



Other types of testing available 

In addition to accessing PCR testing from the DHSC, home care agencies may wish to consider joining our local LFD programme.

Our local LFD testing is designed to compliment the DHSC testing regime; it is recommended people test twice per week using via LFD, with one test being completed on the same day as the recommended weekly PCR test.

If a home care worker tests positive for COVID-19 using an LFD test, they should take a confirmatory PCR test within two days of the initial LFD test.



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