Plans to introduce increased testing in care homes were accelerated just before Christmas in response to the new strain of COVID-19.
To aid increased testing, £149m has been made available in a new grant for costs associated with staff and visitor testing. The funds can be used for setting up testing areas, staff training and for staff time. Allocations will be announced early next year.
The changes to testing are:
In all tiers
- Two lateral flow device (LFD) tests to be added to weekly staff testing in care homes. This means that staff will do a PCR and a LFD test on day 1 and an additional LFD mid-week.
- LFD test to be taken before shifts for any staff who need to work in more than one location to deliver safe staffing levels
- LFD test to be taken before shifts for staff who have been away from work and missed their weekly test
For tier 4
- When any resident or staff member has a positive PCR or LFD, each member of staff should do a daily LFD test for seven days and preferably at the start of shifts
The changes to testing in care homes have been made in order to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the health and wellbeing of residents and staff.
In addition, a new summary of the evidence for Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) in relation to care homes and based on research by PHE Porton Down, University of Oxford, University of Liverpool and the DHSC is available now.
This evidence should be read with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lateral flow testing of visitors in care homes guidance.