New approach to be trialled in 14 care homes.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for designated visitors of care home residents will start this week with a trial across five local authority areas.
From Monday 7 December, lateral flow testing of designated visitors will be trialled in 14 early adopter care homes in North Ayrshire, Fife, Argyll and Bute, Inverclyde, and Aberdeenshire.
Testing kits will then be sent out to all care homes from Monday 14 December, as announced by the First Minister on Wednesday, once guidance and training materials have been finalised following the trial.
For any care homes unable to make use of lateral flow tests before Christmas, PCR testing of visitors will be available when necessary to facilitate visiting over the festive period.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“This is a positive step for care homes, residents and their families and friends, that will provide another important layer of protection against COVID, alongside the essential PPE and infection prevention and control measures already in place.
“I’m very pleased to say we will be able to significantly accelerate the delivery of testing kits to all cares homes from 14 December, following the necessary trial phase to ensure we have the right guidance and training in place.
“This will require a significant amount of work from care homes, and we will continue to work closely with Health and Social Care Partnerships, Scottish Care, CCPS and COSLA as test kits are rolled out to ensure they have the support they need to deliver testing for designated visitors.
“However, it’s important to remember that testing does not replace the other vital layers of protection we have against COVID, and all of these – reducing contacts, keeping our distance, wearing face coverings, and vaccines when they come – work most effectively to stop the virus when they are used together.”
Visiting arrangements will be different for each home but it is anticipated that testing will take place in a designated area in the care home. Visitors will self-swab and the test will be conducted by care home staff.
Where the test is negative visitor will continue to the visit using full PPE and infection prevention and control measures measures as outlined in current visiting guidance, where there is a positive result the visitor will be advised to leave the home, self-isolate and book a PCR test either online at NHSInform.scot, or by calling 0800 028 2816.